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The Eat Out to Help Out scheme launched this weekend to encourage more people to spend their money supporting our hospitality businesses after 3 months of little to no revenue. Businesses have to sign up to the scheme and it applies to restaurants, bars and pubs of any size, or any establishment that could be classed as a food hall. As well as large companies such as Wagamamas and Nandos, many smaller local restaurants and bars have also signed up, hopefully prompting the public to support their smaller local businesses. Most of us are aware that small businesses are in some way important to our economy, but why? 

They pioneer innovation. 

Small businesses usually find it easier than large organisations to innovate and try out new ideas. With larger businesses more likely to be set in their ways, SME’s and startups aren’t afraid to try new things and introduce fresh ideas. This in turn incentivises competition and challenges the norms that many businesses have got used to. Without this push of innovation from small businesses, the economy would be slower in response to trialling new technology, medicine and more.

 

They create jobs. 

Small businesses create more jobs in their local community as they tend to hire local people. Larger organisations are usually based in cities, and people will travel far and wide to secure a job with a big name brand. With small local businesses and family owned farms hiring locally, this helps to boost the economy in towns.

 

Ecological benefits and diversity.

Small businesses have the ability to influence how and where people based in their local community buy. Most eco friendly shops and restaurants that you come across will be privately owned. There are numerous benefits to this. As well as urging the public to move towards ethical buying, they also set the precedent for bigger businesses to follow suit and introduce more ethically sourced products. The Good Life, an independently owned market in Heaton Mersey has done just that. They’ve tapped into their local community to help them shop for all sorts of produce in a more environmentally friendly way. The Good Life sells ethically sourced products such as cereals, chocolate, rice and pasta, all the way through to cosmetics, dental supplies and beer! Providing an environmentally friendly alternative to larger supermarkets promotes ethical buying in the local community whilst also providing jobs and diversity to boost our economy. 

Local businesses can also stop people commuting so much into large cities to shop. Thus reducing the carbon footprint caused by transportation. Villages and towns with lots of small businesses such as shops and restaurants, are usually wealthier, happier and healthier.

They inject more money into local communities.

When local residents visit local businesses, their tax contributions stay within that local economy. If every local resident only spent within their area, they would see a surge of money pumped into their community, meaning more money is available to be spent on what that community needs. All of this contributes towards the development of the community. 

Most of us are aware that shopping locally and supporting small businesses is hugely important, but accept that we just need a push to prompt us to do so. The UK has lots of ambitious small business owners who deserve our custom. As well as great innovators and intelligent entrepreneurs who have taken the initiative to go it alone in the business world and deserve our support. So when you head out to the shop, don’t forget to try local! It all contributes to the health of our economy.