Celebrate 'Independents’ Day' with top schemes to boost your small business

A RECORD 98 businesses were created every hour in the first quarter of 2021 as pandemic-hit Brits took employment into their own hands.

Official statistics show 211,368 companies were incorporated at Companies House from January to March — the first time the opening quarter of a year has seen more than 200,000 companies created.

Businesses ranged from single-person start-ups to larger enterprises founded using redundancy cash.

And the 2021 small business boom shows no sign of slowing.

Daniel Hogan, from cloud accounting company Ember, which compiled the figures, said: “The pandemic has changed the way people think about their lives, and more people than ever are taking the opportunity to go into business.”

This weekend is “Independents’ Day” where the nation is encouraged to support small firms.

Here are Sunemployment’s pick of the schemes to boost your small business.

Independents’ Day: Indie shops make up 65 per cent of the UK’s 290,000 retail outlets.

The campaign asks shoppers to spend in local independent stores over the weekend. See independentsdayuk.org.

Back2Business: Ethnically diverse small businesses can qualify for £10,000 grants through the new scheme run by tech firm Fiserv.

John Gibbons, Head of EMEA at Fiserv, said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our communities. The programme will help them re-emerge stronger and stay competitive moving forward.”

Apply at fiserv.aeoworks.co.uk.

99 Days of Design: Need to refresh your small firm’s website or branding?

Vistaprint is offering 14 UK businesses a £12,000 grant to overhaul their marketing materials.

Enter at 99designs.co.uk.

Cademi: Need to hire staff but don’t have time to train them?

Cademi is the first SME platform to combine onboarding and training to recruit and retain staff in the same way as bigger businesses.

MD Claire Conlaund said: “We’re making the sort of five-star training offered by big corporates available to all businesses, whether they have one employee or 500.”

Customer first

WHILE the beauty sector was hit hard by Covid, aesthetician Amanda Corrigan managed to grow her two firms, Hello Handsome and Derma Pro Aesthetics.

The 52-year-old, from Cobham, Surrey, says: “I was closed for the best part of a year and had to take out loans to survive – but it gave me time to think and replan.

“I conducted a comprehensive customer survey and adapted what I offer so my treatments are exactly what clients want.

“I also stayed in touch with all my clients.

"The key is to listen to customers, respect what they have gone through and adjust what you offer to support their circumstances.”

Upskill with Google

IF you are claiming Universal Credit, you can now upskill for free with a Google Career Certificate scholarship.

There are 9,500 places available on the scheme, and you can choose between four courses: IT Support, Data Analyst, Project Manager and UX Design.

Applicants need to be referred by their DWP Work Coach.

A further 1,500 young people from disadvantaged communities will also be offered the chance to gain the certificates through a partnership between The Prince’s Trust and Inco Academy.

Courses typically take six months but can be completed in as little as five weeks if studied full-time.

Employment Minister Mims Davies said: “Google’s Career Certificates will help people showcase their digital skills and build our workforce of tomorrow.”

Eye on the job

WANT to go to Specsavers?

The eyecare giant has more than 1,300 vacancies nationwide, split between clinical and support roles such as retail, management and apprenticeships.

A spokeswoman said: “Our vision to change lives through better sight and hearing is ambitious to say the least.

"That’s why we need you. We’ve always been passionate about eye health, but now we want to take this to the next level

“Join the team and help make a positive difference to the lives of all, together.”

Apply now at join.specsavers.com/uk


LOAN broker FLUENT MONEY has 70 new jobs.

Email graduate [email protected] for graduate roles or see fluentmoney.co.uk/careers

A high five for top CV

HAS your CV got the write stuff?

Seven in ten business leaders believe the skills employees need have changed over the past year.

Rachel Campbell, senior regional director at Page Personnel, said: “Jobseekers need to make sure they’re highlighting the right skills in their CVs.”

She reveals the top five words and phrases to include.

  • COMMUNICATION– more important as many employees are working from home. Showing you can communicate effectively with team members is vital in an increasingly virtual world.
  • ADAPTABILITY – we’ve all had to accustom to new circumstances over the past year. Highlight you are able to cope in diverse situations.
  • MOTIVATING – managing a team as working patterns evolve can be tricky. Show that you are motivated as an individual and are capable of motivating others too.
  • RESILIENCE – handling setbacks and difficult tasks conveys a strength of character that is prioritised by employers.
  • COLLABORATION – prove you can work well in a team and recognise others’ strengths. This displays maturity needed in the workplace.


ACCOR HOTELS has created 300 new roles as the ­hospitality sector recovers.

Find your job at careers.accor.com/global/en/ga-unitedkingdom

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