Blackpool businesses had the chance to meet mentors and experts as the annual Small Business Saturday drive got under way with a tour bus in St John’s Square.
The initiative is in its seventh year and aims to get people to use local businesses and shops and to encourage big businesses to think about local suppliers.
The bus is being used to offer tips and advice to small business owners and was joined by displays from local traders and creative people organised by resort based networking group Pink Link Ladies. Small business Saturday is on December 7.
Michelle Ovens director of Small Business Saturday said this year’s theme was “find your local hero”.
She said: “The idea is to remind people of the incredible role that businesses play in their community.
“It is not just about local jobs, these businesses are a part of the fabric our towns - the plumber you can count on at Christmas, the printer that stays open late to get that last minute job done.
"There are 5.8 million small businesses with 17 million employees. They are part of our communities and this is about encouraging people to find their local heroes and give them support in the run up to Christmas.”
She said the high street was undergoing change, but she added: “Recent research from American Express showed that businesses are growing on the high street. It is all about creating an experience for customers.
"There is the rapid growth in things like escape rooms for example, but other businesses are learning to build an experience for customers with music or lighting, making it a pleasure to come to.”
Among the mentors on the bus was Kriss Wilson from Blackpool Council’s Blackpool Unlimited business advice service.
She said: “Small Business Saturday is a fabulous idea. We are offering advice on such things as financial forecasting and business plans.”
Jeanette Richardson was there from Ansdell runs Jeanette’s Tropic Skin Care which offers all natural and cruelty-free skin care products.
She said: “It is important that people support their local businesses and shops.
“They will not be handing money to some big CEO behind a posh desk somewhere, but instead they will be supporting people who take their kids to the same football as you, people who work hard in you community and can offer the service you don’t get from big corporates.”