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How small businesses in the South of the UK are surviving the pandemic

March 2020.

The entire world came to a stop.

Schools closed. Many became unemployed. Compulsory lockdowns and quarantines.

The world as we knew it changed.

Physically, financially, mentally. We can say that COVID-19 has impacted us all. But how have small businesses been coping?

Well, with so much hurt and setbacks taking place, sometimes businesses have needed to reach out for help and look to one another for support. That's where events such as The Grow Your Business Show come in!

Held at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey, a historic ground opened originally in 1661 and has been markedly influential in the community since, from hosting weddings to business exhibitions; the event proved to be an essential boost to small businesses in the area. It allowed local businesses, from small startups such as Twipes, all the way to large corporates such as Hilton Hotels & Costco, to meet one another and collaborate.

It proved an opportunity for businesses that took a massive hit after the pandemic to collaborate together towards recovery. With their goal being "Creating a sense of community & togetherness in business", featuring two distinct sections - the first being the large exhibition hall hosting the businesses and exhibitors to network and mingle amongst one another, and the second being seminars held by individuals experienced in their respective fields alongside panel discussions.

Amongst the seminars and speakers included names such as Richard Maybury, Michael Hayes, and Paul Featherstone. With subjects ranging from Financial Planning, Brand Marketing, expanding your contacts and business opportunities. 

The keynote panel discussion involved women's empowerment in business, dubbed the 'Women's Power Panel' with speakers such as Vee Roberts, founder of the award-winning marketing and events agency - 'Insight2Marketing' and Rebecca Newenham, the founder and director of the award-winning agency 'Get Ahead'.

The event definitely fostered an environment of collaboration, with Namrata Faheem, Business Development Executive at NESCOT (North East Surrey College of Technology), stating that "the show was exceptional. We've met so many local businesses here that we can use to create learning and growth opportunities".

And with over 50 different exhibitors in attendance, ranging from the large all the way to small 10 person startup Twipes, everyone was welcomed. Small startups, like Twipes, in particular have the most to benefit from events such as these. With Twipes being the first of its kind - producing eco-friendly wet wipes that are completely flushable and biodegradable, they provided the event with wipes dispensers all around the venue to ensure visitors felt safe whilst building their own brand awareness.

Other small businesses utilised the event to acquire the knowledge and tools needed to continue growing and expanding, avoiding the negative downfalls of the past couple of years. The personal testimony of Adrian Thompson, of DTT Removals, stating that “it was such a brilliant event! We will deffo be up for it again next year!"

Thanks to the support of the community coming together like this, with a focus on growing their businesses, at The Grow Your Business Show, the local region is thriving. With 70,000+ active enterprises in Surrey, and 8,000+ new start-ups each year (91.2% of which have survived their first year in business), they must be doing something right! 

If more organisations and communities invested more time into their local businesses, they'll undoubtedly find the same success that's experienced down here in the South.

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