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Council supports Small Business Saturday

Posted: 6th December 2019

The Small Business Champion for the City of Edinburgh Council Cllr Lezley Marion Cameron visited two small businesses this week to encourage shoppers to explore and support the exciting and interesting variety of independent shops and businesses Edinburgh has to offer.

Cllr Cameron was promoting the Council’s commitment to do more to procure from, and to support and showcase small business to shoppers and buyers more generally in the lead up to Small Business Saturday UK. The organisation is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities, not just on 7 December (Small Business Saturday), but all year round.

The Small Business Champion dropped in for some shopping to The Eco Larder and refreshments at PekoeTea Edinburgh as both businesses are supported by the Council’s Business Gateway team. The Eco Larder’s ethos is to reduce all packaging including plastic waste for its customers and PekoeTea is an Edinburgh Tea Shop and loose leaf tea specialist.

Cllr Cameron said: “It’s hugely important that we encourage people to shop local and support small businesses, not just at Christmas but all year round. I’d encourage suppliers to consider what small businesses like The Eco Larder and PekoeTea can offer in the way of sustainable products such as eco glitter and reusable and washable nappies.

“As a Council we’re committed to support small enterprises through Business Gateway and our procurement team use small businesses where they can. We’re always looking for new opportunities to help support Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).

“Our Business Gateway service supports over 4000 local businesses each year to start-up or grow and the team has a combined network of over 7000 contacts making it easier for businesses to get the support they need quickly from a large network.

“The team also helps businesses make connections and links to many influential and important organisations such as Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Visit Scotland, Interface, First Port, Just Enterprise and Women Enterprise Scotland.  It also has a dedicated Social Enterprise Adviser and runs a Women in Business programme.

“Our commercial and procurement services actively seek opportunities to encourage and enable SMEs to tender for our contracts, including breaking the contracts up into smaller lots, encouraging consortium bids/partnership working and sub-contracting opportunities, and keeping the SME market updated on upcoming opportunities. In addition to this our commercial and procurement services work closely with the Supplier Development Programme, EVOC, Partnership for Procurement and Just Enterprise to provide additional support and training to SMEs, to help them in all aspects of public sector tendering.”

Stephanie Faulds, The Eco Larder, said: “We reached out last year to crowdfund for £22K to launch The Eco Larder – the city’s first dedicated zero waste shop. Our aim is to help change consumer behaviour around packaging and plastic waste. We stock items that will help people to live a zero-waste lifestyle with items such as bamboo coffee cups and toothbrushes to cloth bags and nappies.

“We’ve made connections and links with many organisations including Business Gateway, which helped us to open the shop and they offer us valuable ongoing business support. They’ve supported us in a range of areas from intellectual property protection to digital, and innovation and we’re still working with our advisor to help us grow the business.”

Jon Cooper, PekoeTea, said: “We were delighted to have been in a position to expand and move into new premises on our 10th anniversary, creating two new jobs which will help take the business to the next level and thanks to everyone who has supported us along the way, including Business Gateway Edinburgh and Apollo Informal Investments.

“More and more clients want a UK-based tea manufacturing and blending company that has a respect for the origins and culture of the tea and that can prove it has a personal relationship with its tea growers around the world, which is something we’ve worked hard to achieve from the very start and are very proud of.”

Background on Council support for SMEs

• In 2018/19, the Council’s SME spend was 47% of the Council’s total core spend of £603m (total core spend is suppliers we have spent over £1k with).

• In the most recent Local Government Benchmarking Framework report, for 2017/18, the Council procurement spend with SMEs was ranked 6th in Scotland overall.

• Commercial and Procurement Services held a “Meet the Real Buyer” event in May 2019, at which over 100 suppliers attended.

• The securing of community benefits is also embedded in our procurement processes. For the Trams to Newhaven Infrastructure and Systems Contract, the contractor has committed that 70% of supply chain spend will be sourced within a 60-mile radius of the site.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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