As a lifelong social enterpriser, I believe in the power of small businesses working for the social good.
This Saturday 5th December is small business Saturday, a day to celebrate the benefits that small businesses bring to our town in terms of social purpose, high quality products, employment, training and community identity.
As a Labour and Cooperative MP, I am proud of the contribution that Huddersfield’s 3,350 small businesses, mutual and coops make to the town. Along with local partners, I founded the Huddersfield Enterprise Foundation 15 years ago to provide mentoring, advice and financial support to start-ups and I am honoured to have seen many of them grow into flourishing enterprises.
Local businesses have adapted brilliantly in the past year, supporting the effort to tackle the virus, keeping local communities safe, and ensuring no child goes to bed hungry. Yet after eight months of difficult trading conditions, I know many are facing a serious cash crisis.
On the national stage, Labour is calling for an emergency support package tailored to small business needs. We are determined to stand up for shops, pubs and restaurants, manufacturers, hotels and hairdressers, beauty salons and suppliers, breweries and bakeries and many more small businesses of all kinds.
That is why, in conjunction with friends and partners from the Sustainable Huddersfield initiative, I am relaunching our start-up support service.
As we rebuild from the pandemic and shape a ‘new normal’, I believe we need new ways to support businesses and to tackle the key social, economic and environmental sustainability issues we face: the climate crisis, systematic inequality, food poverty, precarious work.
We are working towards a local start-up and business support hub called the Huddersfield Green Enterprise Foundation that will particularly target enterprises which want to prioritise sustainability in their development, mission and practices. Ethical business is a powerful tool for good and one that will be vital in revitalising our local economy.
I am proud of the innovations, skills and knowledge we have in our town and I am determined to play my part in supporting local businesses to excel, creating benefits for all of us.