Leading small business campaigner, peak b, calls for allowance for small businesses helping communities, off the back of new social impact research.
The policy idea comes off the back of findings from peak b’s Small Business Community Impact Report, which reveals that an overwhelming number of small businesses are about far more than profit, and play a hugely active role in local communities, not only in creating local jobs, but acting as agents of social change and regeneration.
Over a third of small businesses stated that they are not driven by profit and the majority feel they have a role to play in supporting community bodies, with 76.8 per cent actively supporting local organisations – including charities, schools and foodbanks – despite the everyday challenges of running an enterprise.
The report found that small businesses are at the heart of creating opportunities for disadvantaged groups, particularly those furthest from the labour market – such as refugees, ex-offenders, or other excluded groups, such as the long- term unemployed, or those with disabilities.
Over a third have kept on a member of staff when they commercially did not require them anymore, while 48.5 per cent of small businesses have created employment for an individual in order to give them an opportunity above and beyond the current requirements of the company.
Over a third of small businesses are employing young people, while 17 per cent deliberately employ workers with mental health issues.
Michelle Ovens MBE, founder and director of peak b, comments: “For years small businesses have been playing a pivotal, but under-recognised, role as employers and change-makers in their local communities, which goes well beyond their economic value. This contribution should urgently be recognised by the Government. There is a huge opportunity for the Government to leverage and grow the role that small businesses play in helping their communities and addressing issues like inequality. There are lots of ways we can see economic gains from the impact of small business in local communities – from reduced welfare bills, through to increased taxes as new people are finding their way into the job market – all of this accumulates up to helping economies thrive.
“The Community Impact Allowance would be a simple way to recognise small businesses that are already providing help to their local community, while encouraging others to do the same. Just a small nod to small businesses could make a huge difference to inspire and motivate such companies to enhance their impact.”