Hayley champions the small business sector

Hayley Williams outside Number 10 in 2016.

Hayley Williams outside Number 10 in 2016. - Credit: HAYLEY WILLIAMS

When I started Keystone, I immediately became part of a huge community. The small business community. A community that might be small by name, but certainly not small by nature.

Statistics from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills show that at the start of 2020, there were more than 5.9 million small businesses operating across the UK. That's any business with 0 - 49 employees.

Those small businesses are said to account for three fifths of the employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector. Even without Covid, small businesses continually shows strength and resilience; and it's a community that I'm so proud to be part of.

As well as the vast number of small businesses themselves, there are a large number of local and national initiatives and champions that represent and celebrate our sector.

When you start and run a business, these established networks, membership bodies and campaigning groups are so very valuable – in the knowledge that they exist to represent you as a small business owner, and can often offer advice, support, training or insights too.

One such initiative is Small Business Saturday, the grassroots, non-commercial campaign that highlights small business success each year and encourages consumers to 'shop local' and support small businesses in their communities.

The day itself takes place on the first Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses with a number of activities each year.

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Five years ago, Keystone had the chance to experience this campaign from the very front, having applied for and been chosen as one of the Top 100 Small Businesses for that year’s campaign.

The Small Biz 100 is designed to showcase the level of diversity, innovation and talent that is active within the small business sector. As one of the Small Biz 100 in 2016, we not only received exposure on Small Business Saturday's social media channels and in the local and national press, but I was also lucky enough to attend a dedicated reception at Downing Street.

Applications are now currently open for this year’s Small Biz 100. From having been part of it before, I can assure small businesses that it’s an amazing opportunity to demonstrate their own journey and impact on a national platform.