SME Day: In Celebration of Small Businesses

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Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day is celebrated annually on 27 June by the United Nations. At Hatch we see every day the incredible contributions that small businesses make to their communities, the economy, and entrepreneurship as a whole.

Our Chief Executive Dirk Bischof wanted to take this opportunity to explore the landscape of small businesses, and why they are such a vital part of the business ecosystem. 

Dirk Bischof

“Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 99.9% of all businesses in the UK (5.5 million businesses). They are vital to the UK economy as they are offering employment to over 16 million people, are contributing to the development of new, innovative products and services, and enable thriving local communities.

“What we also know at Hatch is that small businesses are bursting with innovation, and have an unrivalled passion for the sector they operate in and the challenge they are looking to solve. 

“They are agile and able to adapt swiftly, they invest in supporting their local communities, looking locally for staffing, supply chain, and partnership opportunities.”

“However, many more people who want to start or grow a small business are unfairly prevented from doing so due to the many barriers that exist. These barriers, such as access to finance and access to good support, are particularly high for people from underrepresented backgrounds and they prevent them from launching and growing their businesses. 

“This constitutes a huge loss to the entrepreneurial landscape of the UK. We’re losing out on wealth creation opportunities and employment opportunities, especially in more underserved areas, and new products and services are not being developed.

“Through supporting more underrepresented founders to start and grow small businesses and have better access to support and finance, Hatch hopes to build a better world and a fairer society through entrepreneurship. 

“And we’re not alone. Hatch has partnered with truly progressive organisations and foundations over the last few years and, together, we are making entrepreneurship more inclusive, offering new opportunities to many more people who might have not considered starting or growing a small business.”

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 Purpose-driven SMEs and social entrepreneurship are at the centre of contributing to inclusive growth, combatting inequalities, and building back better and stronger, especially during challenging times. Supporting small businesses creates far-reaching ripples of positive effects for families, communities, and countries.

This year the global campaign is focusing on ‘The power of small: Unlocking the potential of SMEs’, with particular attention being paid to women’s entrepreneurship and going green.

Women own and lead up to one third of all businesses operating in the formal economy worldwide, and millions more run small informal enterprises in developing economies. Women continue to pursue entrepreneurship and succeed in business in spite of the barriers they face, including discrimination and harassment at work, the lion’s share of domestic responsibilities, and of course a persistent gender pay gap. Imagine what they could achieve on a level playing field.

International Labour Organization

At Hatch we are passionate about supporting underrepresented founders to thrive, including those from marginalised genders, and have supported thousands of women to launch and grow their own businesses.

One of these founders is Paulette Williams from Leading Routes who spoke to us about the barriers she had faced as a female founder.

Paulette Williams

“As a Black female entrepreneur, there are many occasions where I’m the only one that looks like me in the room and it can really make me doubt myself which can show up in other areas of my business. I am working on being kind to myself whilst acknowledging my achievements and abilities so that I can confidently move the business forward to where I know we can be.

“I’ve met an amazing group of women on the Hatch Accelerator who are encouraging and inspiring and I would love to see more women with access to support networks as they grow their businesses.  

“Many women are juggling a lot in life and there are pressures from different directions. I’m learning that things don’t have to be perfect to be good … even great!”

Environmental sustainability cannot be achieved without SMEs. In addition to their impact on the environment, they also hold the key to designing local solutions to climate change. But for many small enterprises, the process of “greening” the business is limited by additional costs and lower awareness. By raising awareness about the benefits of going green and equipping small enterprises with the skills they need to get there, we can achieve a just transition to environmentally sustainable future.

International Labour Organization

The businesses that Hatch supports are all having an impact on the world, and for many Hatch founders environmental impact is a key focus. This is especially true for Maris Passarelli, founder of Green Ramona: the first marketplace fighting for social and climate justice within supply chains. She collaborates and supports small female led eco-businesses to grow while at the same time offering customers products with transparent supply chains to protect them from greenwashing.

From tackling inequalities, to promoting sustainability, and more, we’re constantly inspired by the founders in the Hatch ecosystem and excited by the visions they have for a better world and a fairer society. The millions of small businesses across the UK each deserve to be shouted about and celebrated and we’re glad that today is all about recognising their contributions and their importance.

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