Four small businesses in the North East are among 100 businesses nationwide to be celebrated as part of Small Business Saturday.
The campaign will highlight one business per day in the 100-day run up to the event on December 6.
Bare Bodycare was founded by Cath Mather after the birth of her first son, who suffered with dry skin and eczema. This year Cath is taking part in a Q&A session on the issues addressed by her products.
Newcastle art gallery The North East Art Collective displays more than 2,000 works, including originals, prints, photography and furniture. The gallery will host local artists on the Saturday, who will talk to the public to raise awareness of the local art scene.
Middlesbrough gift shop Diamond Heaven sells a range of decorative products featuring crystals. The store will celebrate Small Business Saturday with bucks-fizz and cupcakes.
Amanti Cupcakes, run by Tina Katsighiras, delivers cakes to customers who order through Facebook. Tina set up her business the day after her father suffered a stroke; an event which persuaded her that “life is too short”. She now has plans to open a cake shop and vintage tearoom.
This year’s campaign has received backing from a host of senior politicians including Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband, Chancellor George Osborne, Business Secretary Vince Cable, Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna and Business Minister Matthew Hancock.
Mr Cameron said: “I have the utmost admiration for the millions of people who run a small business in this country. They are making an enormous contribution to our economic recovery and their hard work and commitment embodies all that is great about the UK. Small Business Saturday is a vital reminder that we need to celebrate small businesses not just on one day, but all year round.”
Small Business Saturday UK has also attracted the support of business organisations including Federation of Small Businesses, the Association of City and Town Management, the Association of Convenience Stores, the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, as well as larger corporates like American Express, O2, Lloyds Bank and NatWest and prominent entrepreneurs Theo Paphitis, Karren Brady and Martha Lane Fox.
The research taken after the last event in December showed that 43% of shoppers chose to do so specifically because of Small Business Saturday.
Consumers spent between £1 and £2,000 on the day, with tills in independent shops and small businesses ringing in an average of £33 per person - equating to £468m across the UK as a whole.
American Express founded the hugely successful Small Business Saturday initiative in the US in 2010 and is a supporter of the programme in the UK.
More information on Small Business Saturday, participating retailers and details on promotions and other incentives to ‘shop locally’ can be found on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page (www.facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturdayuk) Twitter page (@SmallBizSatUk) and website (www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com).