A new report by peak b, the campaigning organisation for small business, has found that over a third of small businesses (38.4%) are not driven by profit, and an overwhelming number are playing a hugely active role in local communities.
In a survey of over a thousand small businesses, the majority (90%) felt they have a role to play in supporting community organisations. Over three-quarters (77%) of small businesses actively support local organisations – including charities, schools and foodbanks – despite the everyday challenges that founders face running their own businesses.
Underpinned by a desire to measure the intangible contribution of SMEs, peak b’s Small Business Community Impact Report reveals the holistic value and purpose-driven nature of small businesses; not only in creating local jobs but acting as agents of social change and regeneration. Sponsored by Indeed and TSB, the report highlights that many small businesses are about far more than profit.
Across the UK, small businesses play a pivotal role as employers and change-makers in the local communities, with many providing opportunities for disadvantaged groups. Over a third (36.6%) stated that they have kept on a member of staff when they didn’t commercially need them anymore, and almost half (48.5%) have created employment for an individual in order to give them an opportunity, above and beyond the business’s needs.
In a trend that shows the people-first approach of the sector, 78% of small businesses create training opportunities for their staff, with 28% offering this for the wider community as well. Furthermore, 70% of small businesses offer flexible working opportunities.
The report also found that it just takes one or two influential individuals in a community to spark strong small business connections. Empowering these influencers – or ‘Sparks’ – and leveraging the collective influence of small businesses, could deliver beneficial social change at a low cost.