Although thousands of small firms and self-employed individuals are temporarily shut down or facing uncertain futures, the new research has highlighted how they are engaging with their local towns, cities, and local areas to selflessly help their communities.
The report, New Horizons, highlights how thousands of small firms are going out of their way to help the vulnerable, saving jobs and finding new ways to keep businesses operating.
It shows how many small businesses have reinvented their business models, products, services and business practices. Many have added a new digital offer or enhanced their existing digital services and that is why it is so important the government makes funding available to support smaller businesses to adopt digital technologies that will enable them to recover from the crisis and improve their productivity.
Nicola Bailey, FSB Development Manager for Hampshire & the Isle of Wight, says:
“These are very uncertain times for all businesses, with futures unknown. Small firms have long been the champions of innovating, adapting and engaging with others especially during difficult periods, and the current situation is no exception.
“Right across the country we are seeing countless acts of kindness, volunteers and community efforts on display from small businesses and the self-employed, helping each other to survive, recover and thrive.
“Since the crisis started, we’ve seen how more than half of all small firms (57%) are carrying out key roles in their communities, with about a third prioritising their businesses for the vulnerable and about a quarter donating provisions to food banks.
“This is a testament to the efforts of all of the country’s 5.8 million small businesses and their importance to local communities.
“Small firms have also played a crucial role in supporting our key workers. Around a quarter (23%) have stepped up in some way to aid key workers, whether that be through volunteering or returning to work for the NHS, providing critical PPE and hand sanitisers as well as offering up support and accommodation for those professionals who are working tirelessly to save lives.
“Small businesses have introduced new creative solutions and frugally innovated to keep afloat and help others at this critical time. They have developed a wide range of innovative marketing strategies to provide their products and services during the lockdown.
“Small businesses remain the backbone of the economy, pillars of local communities and crucial outlets of support. Government support has ensured that many of these businesses can either continue to trade in some way or pick up where they left off after the crisis. That’s why it’s more important than ever to support our small businesses wherever possible.”