Downing Street was transformed into a festive street market to showcase businesses from all four corners of the UK.
The Prime Minister was joined by the Chancellor as well as business and industry leaders and trade envoys to show their support for up-and-coming British businesses.
Twelve companies from across the UK held stalls to promote their products and demonstrate how they have benefited from our independent trade policy by putting their products on the global market. For example, one of the stallholders – Wensleydale creamery based in the Prime Minister’s constituency in Yorkshire – has grown to employ over 200 people and exports their cheese to 16 countries including the US and Australia.
Another stallholder, SamosaCo, which is based in Cardiff, sells across the UK and exports to markets in the Netherlands, Spain and Singapore. Birchall Tea, who also showcased their products today, are one of the largest exporters of East African tea in the world, buying and shipping millions of kilos of black tea every year.
It comes as the Small Business Saturday campaign marks its 10th anniversary. Small Business Saturday is an annual grassroots campaign which encourages people to support small businesses in their communities.
In the last decade, the Government has given free, impartial support via Growth Hubs to over 287,000 businesses, provided £12.2 billion worth of finance to high potential small businesses to stay ahead in the market, and provided almost 99,000 Start Up Loans via the British Business Bank to new entrepreneurs. Thousands of UK businesses have also signed up to the Export Academy and built their knowledge of selling their products internationally.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
I’m delighted to welcome these fantastic businesses to Downing Street, many of whom have inspiring and remarkable stories about how they grew their businesses in the UK.
Businesses across the UK can be reassured that this government will always support them, especially during these challenging economic times. We are backing businesses with £13.6bn worth of support over the next 5 years, with further support for businesses with their energy bills through the Energy Bill Relief scheme.
Growing up in a family business, I know the transformative impact a small business can have on the local economy and community. So this Saturday, I encourage everyone to get behind their local businesses and invest in Britain.
A record 5.5 million small businesses registered in the UK at the start of 2022, providing jobs for 16.4 million people in the UK. But the government recognises that businesses are facing significant pressures.
We are providing additional support provided for small businesses through the Supporting Small Business Scheme. 99% of UK businesses can also use the Annual Investment Allowance to write off the full cost of any qualifying plant, machinery or equipment they purchase up to a now permanent level of £1 million.
Later this week, the Business Secretary will set out more details on how we’re protecting small businesses from late payments from larger clients, which can damage their cash flow and expansion prospects.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said:
Heading to the Christmas markets is one of the highlights of the year for many families. As well as a festive treat, this event celebrates the millions of small businesses that are the backbone of our communities.
Whether you’re a butcher, café owner or hairdresser, this government has set aside significant support on business rates and energy bills to help local firms through today’s challenges and onwards to growth.
Since leaving the EU, we now sell our beef, lamb and poultry in Japan, beef in the Philippines, beef and lamb in the USA, and pork in Mexico, Chile and Taiwan. This provides new opportunities for UK producers and businesses to expand into the global market.
We have trade and investment teams in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the North East, with dedicated teams to ensure every business, everywhere in the UK, gets our full support. Exports will support highly paid jobs and by sending our products abroad we will secure growth and jobs at home across the UK.
Last year we published our Export Strategy which will help businesses across the UK double exports and sell their world-class products around the globe. The 12-point strategy gives businesses the tools they need to become a nation of exporters and reap the benefits of our free trade deals.
Unlocking the UK’s exporting potential will help level up the country and boost the UK’s economy, with estimates that UK exports are bringing in £748 billion to our economy in the twelve months to September 2022.
Details on businesses who held stalls in Downing St.
- British Craft House (Hampshire): The British Craft House is a platform where manufactures can sell their products. They sell gifts and handcrafted jewellery made by small independent businesses in the UK.
- SamosaCo (Wales): SamosaCo was started forty years ago by the Sandhu family in Canada, where they began selling samosas to their customers from their grocery store in Toronto. Now based in Cardiff, the business sells across Wales and the UK and exports to markets in the Netherlands, Spain, Singapore and soon to the UAE and Belgium. Some of their UK customers include Cotsco, Ocado, Morrisons and Tesco.
- Sandwick Bay Candles (Scotland): Sandwick Bay Candles create handmade soy wax candle in Scotland. Mother of three Megan MacDonald started making candles at her kitchen table in 2015 as gifts for her daughters’ teachers. Megan decided to try a proper production run in February 2016 and ended up selling 250 in her first month alone. Megan has moved her business into a small workshop on Stornoway where she is supported by 12 employees.
- Corgi Socks (Wales): Based in Ammanford, Corgi was founded in 1892. They have been making socks for the royal family for more than three decades. Last Summer, Corgi also designed the socks for the Wales Football team.
- Tiny Box (East Sussex): Tiny Box Company is the UK’s largest online gift packaging e-commerce company with over 1000 products and over 120,000 customers. Rachel Watkyn started her company in 2007 and has grown Tiny Box to a company of 90 employees and turnover of around £10 million.
- Plum & Ashby (South East): Plum & Ashby was founded by two friends, Vicky White and Freya Nicholson, in 2014. Their products are made in the UK, predominantly from glass with recyclable packaging. Their team is headquartered in Fareham, Hampshire, and their range is available in over 400 stockists worldwide, as well as online. They also have distributors in Norway, Taiwan and UAE.
- Salt Glass Studios (Norfolk): Founded by Max Lamb and Dr Fiona Wilkers in 2011, Salt Glass is a glass studio based in Norwich run by artists from the Royal College of Art & Slade School, UCL. They use traditional processes from fusing, casting, glass blowing to create design ware and bespoke commissions and also run courses for the public year-round.
- Birchall Tea (Wiltshire): Birchall Tea is one of the largest exporters of East African tea in the world, buying and shipping millions of kilos of black tea from this continent every year. It has trading offices in East Africa and a tea factory in Wiltshire.
- Nearynogs (Northern Ireland): NearyNógs is Northern Ireland’s first bean to bar craft chocolate makers and the oldest in Ireland. The chocolate factory has switched to Solar energy and all the packaging is either made from recyclable materials, can be recycled or is biodegradable.
- Finnebrogue Artisan (Northern Ireland): Finnebrogue is one of the UK’s leading artisan food producers. It is a family-owned business based in County Down, Northern Ireland. The company produces premium meat and plant-based products. It is a major supplier to some of the UK and Ireland’s top supermarkets and has more than 1200 staff.
- Wensleydale Creamery (Yorkshire): The Wensleydale Creamery produces over 20 varieties of cheese and employs over 200 staff at its creamery in Hawes, North Yorkshire. Wensleydale Creamery exports to 16 countries, including the USA and Australia.
- Fearless Academy (Manchester): The Fearless Academy provides coaching in digital skills with the aim of supporting businesses in upskilling their workforce as well as those interested in digital marketing. It has a target of retraining and upskilling 1000 individuals by the end of 2025. Currently there are courses funded in Greater Manchester and Liverpool and ambitions to launch throughout the UK in 2023. They have been supported by Greater Manchester and Liverpool Combined Authorities with in delivering Skills Bootcamps, part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee.
Sources: THX News & The UK Government.