Case Studies

Tower Hamlets

Friday, January 23 at 11:19

How supporting local businesses is helping Tower Hamlets

It didn’t take a national event like Small Business Saturday for us to realise that small businesses are the lifeblood of the Tower Hamlets economy. Yes, Canary Wharf is in the borough, and the City’s on our doorstep. But while they do contribute so much to the economy, we cannot forget that thousands of smaller businesses play a huge role in our economic successes.

A recent Grant Thornton report found that Tower Hamlets ranked first for growth in the country and was among the top ten most dynamic local economies in the country. And why is that? Because our small businesses are dynamic, savvy, quirky, and they listen to the needs of their market. One small business that is doing really interesting work is Studio Film School. They work in schools to try and inspire the next generation of filmmakers through creative workshops. And of course, with Tech City UK springing up around us, we’re going to see so many exciting organisations doing innovative work, and disseminating their best practice to others.

This year, we did a lot of activity around Small Business Saturday. Our team of officers worked tirelessly on a big marketing push to encourage people to shop locally. These included a number of publications sent to local residents in Bethnal Green, Mile End and these publications listed shops, restaurants, hairdressers, and all the businesses that you may need as a resident in East London. They also included exclusive special offers that people could use to get bargains, and to drive people to their local businesses.

Small Business Saturday saw businesses coming together across the borough. For instance, we worked very closely with the Roman Road Residents and Business Association (RBA) to put on a Winter Festival, encouraging people to celebrate their road’s heritage, but also to shop locally. There were also a number of other events across the borough – including an event organised by local arts and community organisation Oxford House and the Bethnal Green Business Forum.

Speaking to residents on the road, who were shopping and enjoying themselves, I heard a lot of praise for the shops, restaurants, hairdressers and many other businesses. The local businesses were also chatting away about the benefits that the guides we produced had for their businesses. Anna Pacikova from the Bethnal Green Business Forum said: “Small Business Saturday was a great success. The Business Forum was very pleased to support the launch the Special Offers Booklet. It was a great opportunity to show the residents of Bethnal Green, that our high street is full of interesting and independent businesses.”

What we and other local councils up and down the country recognise and celebrate is that there is so much available to you on your doorstep. What you get when you shop at places around you is local knowledge and a friendly and familiar face.

Shopping locally is so much more than that, though. Every pound you are spending is helping to grow the Tower Hamlets economy and the Tower Hamlets community. You’re investing your hard-earned money in your area. So head down to your local shops today – they’re here for life, not just for Christmas.

By the Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Oliur Rahman