Small businesses across the North East are to be celebrated today.
This weekend marks the launch of the first Small Business Saturday in the UK and businesses across the region will be taking part today.
The initiative was started in America and has already gained a lot of support in the UK.
In Newcastle local businesses in areas such as Grainger Market and High Bridge Street are promoting the day, including Simone Clarkin who runs Mmm in Grainger Market, a specialist food and drink store.
She said: “I think it is a really great idea just because there is so much emphasis on large businesses, corporate businesses and retail where it is all about chains and there’s a lot of negative stuff about chains that go bust when in fact a lot of small businesses are doing fantasically well and are hiring people.”
Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central is also supporting the initiative and has been encouraging businesses to take part. She said: “People value the choice they get from smaller shops which is why I want to celebrate the contribution they make to local communities and that’s why I’m so pleased we are having the inaugural Small Business Saturday.
“It will shine a spotlight on the huge contribution small businesses make and encourage people to buy from small local firms and independent shops on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, giving them a much-needed boost when shopping areas are struggling.”
Stephen Patterson, Director of Communications at Business Improvement District Company, NE1 Ltd said: “We welcome any initiative that helps support the local business community. Small Business Saturday is all about raising awareness of what’s on offer on the high street. It is a great way to throw the spotlight on the fantastic array of small independent retail businesses we have.
“These businesses are so important for the character and tone of the city and help create the unique retail experience that Newcastle offers.”
In Durham the Business Improvement District have been urging residents to support local small businesses today.
Durham BID manager, Sonali Craddock, said: “We are encouraging shoppers to support local small businesses. In Durham, we have a wealth of small businesses and independents which makes us unique from many cities and we would ask the public to please support your local businesses when doing your Christmas shopping this year.”
The day is also being celebrated in Durham with security for shops in Consett and Stanley going digital. The switch from analogue to digital for Shop Watch means even quicker radio contact with local CCTV operators and clearer images in a bid to reduce crime.