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Small firms step up to help their communities

2 June 2020

As businesses across the UK adapt to survive during the coronavirus crisis, many small firms are also making significant efforts to support their local communities.

A new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has shed light on the scale of small business efforts to help their communities during the current crisis.

Although many small firms and self-employed individuals have had to temporarily shut down and face uncertain futures, FSB research has found that they are engaging with their towns, cities and local areas to selflessly help their communities.

The report, New Horizons, reveals that:

  • 57% of small firms are carrying out community roles during the crisis;
  • 23% of small businesses are helping key workers by providing PPE, volunteering and offering accommodation;
  • 24% have made donations to local food banks;
  • 30% of all small business owners have prioritised and supported vulnerable customers, with 19% offering free home deliveries.

The findings also show how many small businesses have reinvented their business models, products, services and business practices. For instance, 10% of small firms have introduced new services and 16% have developed a new online presence or improved their online offering.

FSB national chair Mike Cherry said: "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."

Cherry added: "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."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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