North East Connected

North East companies named in Small Business Saturday UK’s ‘Small Biz 100’ for 2016

Three companies in the North East have been named among the 100 small businesses
in the UK to be celebrated by Small Business Saturday, the campaign that
culminates in the UK’s dedicated day for small businesses on December 3rd.

The businesses will be among those featured one per day for the 100 days leading
up to Small Business Saturday itself.

The local companies are:

Greener Lavelle, a costume and puppet designer and maker, illustrator and
community artist from Billingham, near Stockton On Tees. Kim McDermottroe, owner
of Greener Lavelle, creates bespoke educational costumes for museums throughout
the UK, large scale puppets for street theatres and carnivals, works with local
theatrical companies and facilitates workshops for community groups for people
of all ages and abilities. She is also an exhibited artist and has designed and
illustrated bespoke activity sheets for museum education packs, poetry pamphlet
covers and logos.

“After graduation I was accepted on a teacher training course but I thought I
couldn’t teach much if all I had known was education myself,” explains Kim.

“Having produced some costumes for a local museum, word spread quickly and,
together with my friend Charlotte, we began making costumes for North East
museums. I got involved in local carnival parades. Additionally, over the past
couple of years I have had limited edition prints made of my artwork and have
been exhibiting and selling them.”

The Smokin’ Barbecue Company, a barbecue street food caterer from
Chester-Le-Street, was started in 2013 after redundancy and the desire for a
career change. The Smokin’ Barbecue Company now caters for weddings, parties,
corporate events and more. Its huge smoker oven all the way from the United
States slow smokes the meat over hickory and mesquite woods to give an authentic
barbecue flavour. No additives are used to ensure the meat is both pure and

“We funded the business from our own savings, and have learnt many lessons along
the way,” explains founder Doug Dawson.

“After visiting the US on holiday and falling in love with authentic BBQ, we
experimented in our back yard with a smoker. Then research into commercial
smokers and discussions with experts, the local enterprise agency and the
Environmental Health team began, and we converted our outhouse into the
smokehouse and began trading. We have built up a great reputation in the North
East for quality food and value for money. We work at many food festivals and
events in the region and love to see happy customers enjoying our food.”

The third company is These Girls Can Run, a small business based in Cramlington,
north of Newcastle Upon Tyne, which offers ladies’ beginner running groups.
These Girls Can Run aims to break down some of the barriers, which prevent women
from exercising and help them turn can’t into can. It has developed friendly and
welcoming sessions specially designed so there is something for everyone and has
also recently launched These Guys Can Run, a male only running group where men
can run in a non competitive and social environment.

“Having had my own journey from overweight and unfit to marathon runner I
understand the emotions and fear of judgement which goes hand in hand with
starting a new exercise,” explains founder Kim Scott.

“It is through my own experiences that I can ensure we deliver sessions in such
a way that people are welcomed, supported and able to realise their own
potential at their own pace. These Girls Can Run has achieved fantastic success
in just 16 months but I do not wish to rest on my laurels. My vision is for
everyone to have access to a These Girls Can Run and a These Guys Can Run group
and for the groups to expand nationally without losing sight of the visions and
values I have as a small business.”

Small Business Saturday is already the UK’s most successful small business
campaign. This is the fourth year of the campaign, which last year saw £623m
spent with small businesses across the UK on Small Business Saturday, an
increase of £119m or 24 per cent on the previous year. The campaign trended at
number one in the UK on Twitter on the day with more than 100,000
campaign-related tweets being sent. Over 75% of local councils supported the
campaign, giving considerable national reach into local communities.

The campaign is a great nationwide promotional and marketing tool for small
businesses. It is totally free to participate and any small businesses can get
involved – from one-man-bands, through to a high growth office, and from
tradesmen to social media gurus. In addition to the big day, the campaign also
delivers help and advice alongside opportunities to connect with other small
businesses. In short, Small Business Saturday exists to support, inspire and
promote small businesses.

“The British public has a great affection for small businesses and we continue
to see that grow year on year.  Small Business Saturday is an exceptional
example of collaboration and co-operation with small businesses teaming up in
communities around the UK,” explains Campaign Director Michelle Ovens.

“Although the campaign focuses on one day, the goal is to have a lasting impact
on small businesses by changing mind-sets, so that people make it their mission
to support small businesses all year round. Most people in this country own a
small business, work for a small business or know somebody who does, so
supporting a small business on Small Business Saturday is absolutely personal.”

Small Business Saturday, which is a grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, was
originally founded by American Express in the U.S. in 2010 and it remains the
principal supporter of the campaign in the UK, as part of its on-going
commitment to encourage consumers to shop small. The campaign also benefits from
the backing of leading business organisations including the Federation of Small
Businesses and Enterprise Nation. The campaign is also supported by PRS For
Music, TalkTalk Business, Vistaprint, Post Office and Clear Channel

Logos, digital banners, a social media guide and toolkits will be available to
download from the website and can be displayed
online or on premises. Businesses around the country can also upload information
to the ‘My Small Business Finder’ on the website
( on what special events or promotional offers
they will be running for Small Business Saturday.

More information on Small Business Saturday can also be found on the Small
Business Saturday Facebook page ( and
Twitter feed (@SmallBizSatUk).

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