Why Small Business Saturday is about more than the high street

And what benefits the initiative can bring

Small businesses are undoubtedly the lifeblood of our economy. The private sector almost exclusively consists of SMBs. They generate a cumulative turnover of over £1.6 billion each year and they employ over 60% of the UK's work force.

Our country's economy would crumble without them. Whilst the government has always appreciated their contribution, the politicians now start to take action to support this vital sector of our economy. Just this week during the Autumn Statement Chancellor George Osbourne presented an additional £900m lending package for small businesses. The sometimes forgotten powerhouse of our economy is getting the recognition it deserves.

One initiative is taking this even further and receives support from all over the UK. Small Business Saturday should be an important day in the business year for many of us. It is the day which shines a light on all of the great businesses across the UK that don't necessarily make the headlines.

More than the high street

On Small Business Saturday we shouldn't just focus on the high street though. Small businesses come in many forms. They are your local fishmonger, your favourite regional restaurant or a trendy app developer at Silicon Roundabout.

They bring variety to the table, both in terms of offering and experience. And everyone appreciates the role they play in their communities. So let's make sure we continue supporting local businesses and keep them alive.

Any initiative that aims to raise their profile and supports their growth should be greeted enthusiastically across the business world. But what's in it for the businesses themselves? Apart from additional revenue, it most importantly gives them the opportunity to come together to learn from each other and share their business expertise.

Be it through initiatives like Small Business Saturday or our recent Big Digital Skills Tour, a series of workshop sessions across the UK focussing on developing and sharing digital skills. But sharing knowledge isn't just limited to SMBs. Big businesses can learn from the forward thinking and agility that huge communities of SMBS display, as we at Virgin Media Business found through events like 30:30 Vision. And the government is taking and increased interest in them.

It is great to see that industry and government are coming together. But there is a lot that still needs to be done to empower small businesses even further. We need to continue exploring ways of providing further support - be that access to funding, mentoring, digital skills - until every day is a great day for small businesses.