Shops, businesses and services throughout Test Valley celebrated Small Business Saturday this weekend.
Business owners from across the borough came together to celebrate those who have taken on the challenge of starting their own business.
The day offered Test Valley residents the opportunity to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. It is also a chance for local businesses to network with one another.
MP Kit Malthouse had previously expressed that we must use “local businesses or lose them”.
Many independent businesses in both Andover and Stockbridge offered free activities, discounts and gifts with purchases to celebrate the day. In Stockbridge, the day will end with the Christmas tree lights switch on.
Local discount card, The Lifestyle Card and local radio station Andover Radio asked Mr Malthouse to draw two competition winners at the Walworth Enterprise Centre on Saturday. Austin Hawk estate agents and Indiglow candle shop, each won two months of free radio advertising and Lifestyle Cards for their staff.
Following recent claims of Test Valley Borough Council being immoral in the way it used its own votes to sway a Business Improvement District ballot in its favour, the council claims it “supports new and small businesses throughout the year in many different ways“.
Economic development and tourism portfolio holder, Councillor David Drew, said, “Sole traders account for many of the businesses in Test Valley and are a crucial part of the economy. They offer a unique level of originality and variety to consumers, which is something to be celebrated.
“I am passionate about supporting new and small businesses across the borough, and, as a council, we are proud to support them every day.”
Mr Malthouse has said that there are almost 5,000 small businesses in North West Hampshire and they make up 99 per cent of all businesses.
Recent Test Valley figures show that just half of all businesses survive after 5 years of starting up in the region.
Nine in 10 survived after the first year, however this significantly dropped to just half (50.5%) of all businesses after 5 years.