Small Business Saturday

Councillor Craig Cheney, smiling, with trees in the background.
Today guest blog is from Craig Cheney, cabinet member with responsibility for City Economy, Finance & Performance

Businesses across Bristol were hit hard because of the pandemic, and they continue to face tough economic conditions with the national cost of living crisis. It has been encouraging to see footfall figures beginning to recover across many areas of our city, and we continue to do what we can to support the self-employed, independents, and small businesses to help them continue to recover and bounce back.

Small Business Saturday takes place today, Saturday 3 December. Now in its tenth year, the national event provides a great opportunity to further support Bristol’s businesses, who are a vibrant and key part of our city, by shopping local and shopping small. Businesses can promote themselves by hosting events and offering discounts. Information and a free marketing pack are available on the Small Business Saturday website. Shoppers can click on the Small Business Finder to search for local businesses taking part.

We have seen great success through our culture and events programme. We are working hard to deliver a programme of events through to September 2023 to bring more people into our city centre and our high streets, including the return of the Bristol Light Festival from 3 to 12 February 2023. Recent events include the lantern parade Bump in the Night, Overstory in Broadmead, Luminarium on College Green, and Little Amal walking through Old City and King Street. All of these events have successfully brought people into the area and supported businesses. We have regular, ongoing events including a number of new markets like the Better Sundays at Broadmead Market and St Nick’s Night Market is due to return again in Spring next year.

The Vacant Commercial Property Grant offers up to £10,000 of funding to help small or expanding businesses to start trading from a city centre or local high street property. Open until 31 March 2023, the scheme intends to support local businesses to open new premises and trade with confidence. Funding can be used for structural works to a property or equipment to be used in the property (capital expenditure). The funding is open to businesses, charities, community interest companies, sole traders, and arts and culture groups for both long term and temporary/meanwhile use. Visit www.bristol.gov.uk/vcpg to find out more and to see some of the organisations who have received this funding so far.

Mayor Marvin Rees, smiling in front of a large mural reading Love Local.

Our Where’s It To? campaign continues to support independents across Bristol, inviting people to explore and get to know some of their local traders. Over a twelve month period we visited our city centre and all 46 high streets across Bristol. The site now has over 400 businesses listed and continues to grow with businesses being added and promoted through the council’s social channels, including at Shop Local Bristol on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  If you run an independent business in the city centre or one of Bristol’s 46 high streets and would like your business profile added onto the Where’s It To? website, drop the team an email to arrange a visit: business@bristol.gov.uk

We are also committed to making Bristol a Living Wage City. Our aim is to significantly increase the number of employers voluntarily paying the real Living Wage, making sure their employees are earning a wage they can live on.

Paying the real Living Wage can benefit your business by enhancing its reputation and by improving the commitment and motivation and recruitment and retention of your staff.  Visit the Living Wage Foundation website to find out more about the Living Wage accreditation, or contact: livingwage@bristol.gov.uk