Ambitious entrepreneurs this week turned up to Sheffield City Hall to hear cutting-edge expert advice about how to make it big - as a major new national roadshow launched in Sheffield to help small businesses, side hustlers and online sellers' scale.
eBay’s Business Roadshow will travel to multiple locations across the country over the next 12 months - in partnership with Small Business Britain and the British Chamber of Commerce - as the company kicks-off its first ever physical regional roadshow and investment programme in the UK.
As the cost-of-living soars, the roadshow aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs and fledgling small firms start up and make more money online in a bid to surf the volatile retail trading environment.
The inaugural event – on Thurs 28th and Fri 29th April – also saw new funding made available, as eBay announced plans to invest over £1m in grants and support packages for small businesses across the UK.
Murray Lambell, eBay UK’s General Manager, said: “It has been a difficult couple of years for small businesses and entrepreneurs right across the country, as they bear the brunt of inflation, supply chain issues and tax, with consumer habits evolving too. The future looks no less challenging.
“We are so keen to host events that make a meaningful difference – providing business owners with tangible skills, advice and networking opportunities that can help them thrive in the long term.”
The event took place at Sheffield’s iconic City Hall and featured a series of high-profile speakers, including Lord Callanan, Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility and Michelle Ovens CBE, Founder of Small Business Britain, who discussed how small businesses can weather the storm and recover.
Lord Callanan said: “Small and medium enterprises are the engine of our local communities which is why, despite a challenging few years, we have backed them with world class training and practical support through our Help to Grow Schemes: Digital and Management. The private sector also has a vital role in unlocking entrepreneurial flair, so it’s fantastic to see initiatives like eBay’s Business Roadshow which will help to drive considerable investment, along with upskilling and networking opportunities so that small businesses across the UK can thrive.”
Inspirational small business owners also shared their stories of success, with Catherine Boswell, founder of Vintro Clothing, saying: “Since starting Vintro Clothing with my husband eight years ago, we have never looked back. The corporate world just didn’t suit us and the eBay platform allowed us to make our dreams a reality. However, we can’t deny that the last two years haven’t been difficult and that the current climate is giving us renewed concern. That’s why an event like this is so important; not only in the support it provides but in gathering so many small businesses together to share their experiences. As a long-timer on the platform, I hope that the insight we’ve shared can help other businesses – of whatever shape and size - to see the opportunities it can provide.”
Michelle Ovens CBE added: “It is incredibly inspiring to see so many small business owners and entrepreneurs coming together for this event. It creates terrific energy, connections, and new opportunities.
“Events like this are hugely important. We can’t shy away from the huge challenges that small firms have been thrown over these last years, and still face today.
“While the resilience they’ve shown has been outstanding, more support networks, more access to training and more investment is needed to help them recover and grow through 2022 and beyond.
“I can’t wait to see the impact of this amazing roadshow, and the help it will give small businesses in communities across the country.”
The event featured insight and tips on all aspects of entrepreneurship from scaling and strategy, to embracing sustainability and talent management, with a special session from Karen Mosley, President of the Sheffield Chambers of Commerce, on how to hire, retain and champion the best people.
Entrepreneurs and small businesses attending each event will have the opportunity to apply for eBay’s new grants and support packages, with winners announced in the following weeks.
Lambell added: “This roadshow was a valuable opportunity for us to hear first-hand from local entrepreneurs and the stories that brought them here today.
“We want to open our community to even more businesses, so I hope that these discussions helped to drive awareness of our platform and the opportunities it can give to both start-up entrepreneurs and established sellers alike”
After Sheffield, eBay’s Business Roadshow will visit Salford on 26-27 May, followed by ten other UK cities over the next twelve months, with further dates to be announced soon.
Newcastle (9th – 10th June)
Glasgow (16th – 17th June)
Southend on Sea
Small businesses across the UK can express their interest and sign up to attend here: http://ebaybusinessroadshow.co.uk/