Small Business Saturday Blog

Social Saturday

Wednesday, October 07 at 13:15Social Enterprise | Social Good

This Saturday, October 10th is Social Saturday, a national day to celebrate social enterprises. Small Business Saturday UK is thrilled to have so many social enterprises in the Small Biz 100 this year: Old Spike Roastery, Darlo, CANAPE, Beatfreeks, Your Own Place CIC, A Man For All Seasons, Glasgow Locavore and Turning Earth Ceramics. We asked Social Enterprise a bit more about the day and how to get involved:

"Social Saturday is the national day to celebrate and buy from social enterprises. Social enterprises are businesses which trade to meet a social and/or environmental mission and they reinvest or donate their profits to help achieve this. They operate in nearly all areas of business and the vast majority of them are small businesses. From fashion to food, bicycle repair shops to buses, chances are there is a social enterprise near you.

There are around 70,000 social enterprises in the UK employing nearly a million people and contributing £24 billion to the economy. Social Saturday is about shining a spotlight on them. Whether it’s creating opportunities for people disadvantaged from the labour market, supporting development projects abroad or strengthening local economies at home – social enterprises are showing how business can create positive social change. They are bringing the dynamism and innovation of private enterprise to address the most pressing challenges we face as a country and as a planet. 

Social Saturday is part of Social Enterprise UK’s Buy Social Campaign, which challenges all of us to think about where we spend our money. 

What’s happening on Social Saturday?


There are over 50 events happening throughout the country ranging from coffee mornings and dinner parties to bike rides and film screenings. If you’d like to find out what’s happening near you check out the Social Saturday website.

The website also includes some brilliant consumer facing social enterprises to allow you to unleash your spending power and buy social!


Like small businesses, social enterprises are often at the heart of communities, driving economic growth creating jobs and keeping money in the local area. So on Social Saturday 2015, shop local and buy social as well. You can find your local social enterprises in the Buy Social Directory."

Follow Social Enterprise on Twitter for more information about Social Saturday. 




Blue Badge Style

Tuesday, March 24 at 08:53Inspiration | Social Good

I worked for 25+ years for various large software companies, operating mainly in the Finance sector, selling multi-million pound systems. However, due to progressive disability I became adept in finding ‘cool’ places to go with clients, places that held no surprises regarding accessibility & facilities.

There was nowhere to find this information and no one site for anything to do with disability and style. I realised that there must be other people with the same needs so I collated this knowledge into a Website and more latterly a Mobile App - Blue Badge Style.

In 2012 I received some investment and decided that this would now be my life’s work! I wanted to create a community where “style & disability are not mutually exclusive” and I’ve subsequently developed a business model where I can make money from the idea. In line with producing information on where to go we have developed a product that gives this accessibility information on a venue’s website (something that is lacking in most cases), in the form of an online access brochure that treats disabled people as customers rather than health & safety issues! They’re known as PADs (Pictorial Access Descriptions), you can see one on the website of South Place Hotel http://pad.bluebadgestyle.com/south-place-hotel/ .

In 2014 we won the coveted European Investment Bank Institute’s Social Innovation Tournament.

I’ve met many challenges in setting up the business but the main one has been transport to meetings. Public transport exists for wheelchair users but it’s not always reliable and involves military planning – so spontaneous journeys are impossible and getting to meetings on time is precarious. Journeys can be unacceptably long, especially if the man with the ramp is not available. The only alternative is taxis and I have a network of cabbies I regularly use who know my needs. The challenge is the expense!

I set up a business because working for a company can be very difficult if you’re disabled. It has changed a lot since the Paralympics and the companies I worked for were very understanding and helpful but a daily journey to an office or a client’s site became just too difficult. The freedom of being the boss means I can work more flexibly and choose what my goals are.

Whether disabled or not you need to believe in what you’re doing and enjoy the journey. I’m the poorest I’ve ever been setting up my own business but I’m the happiest and don’t regret my decision. I wish I’d had the courage to do it earlier in my career. My advice is consider the risks in anything you do but in my experience working with people you like and respect, as well has ‘gut feel’, gave me a successful career in software sales and more latterly with my own business.

Challenges are what drive me and being disabled means I have to overcome them every day in my personal life, challenges at work are nowhere near as difficult to deal with. So perseverance and being open to new ideas and experiences is my advice.

By Fiona Jarvis, founder of Blue Badge Style  

Blue Badge Style is holding a concert to celebrate the launch of a new music scholarship for musicians with disabilities at the Royal Academy of Music, April 14 2015 7.30pm at St George’s Bloomsbury, London.

This inclusive concert in Central London is being held to raise further funds for the 2015/16 academic year. The multi-genre event, will be a showcase for an eclectic mix of disabled and able-bodied talent. Several acts have already signed up to play, ranging from a blind soprano to a jazz funk band. They will all be supported by The Aldwych Sinfonia. For more details and to purchase a ticket, please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bbs-mix-concert-supporting-disabled-musicians-tickets-16188390913

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