eBay launches regional roadshow and investment programme to start and scale small online businesses

  • Over £1m investment in skills and funding to help small business communities thrive post-COVID
  • eBay to visit 12 cities and towns in the next 12 months, while delivering year-long training and support, in partnership with Small Business Britain and British Chambers of Commerce
  • Programme expected to reach thousands of small businesses across the UK
  • Comes as new research shows that over 6 in 10 (61%) small businesses will struggle to meet rising costs when financial support ends

eBay has today announced the launch of the “eBay Business Roadshow” – its first ever physical regional roadshow and investment programme in the UK. The Roadshow will turn up at the doorsteps of small businesses across the country, helping would-be and fledgling entrepreneurs to both start up and scale up their online businesses.

In the face of rising inflation and the ongoing impact of COVID-19, eBay is investing over £1m to deliver a year-long support programme, visiting 12 cities and towns in the next 12 months and expecting to reach thousands of small businesses by the end of March 2023.

eBay has partnered with both Small Business Britain and British Chambers of Commerce to deliver the eBay Business Roadshow, alongside business organisations and experts specific to each region who can provide hyperlocal advice. Ongoing access to networking, skills and training via its online learning tool, eBay Academy, will also be provided throughout.

More than two thirds (69%) of small businesses say that for the first time ever, they are facing inflationary pressures across all parts of their business – from supply chain, to energy, to wages and rent – which is having an adverse effect on skills and training, according to new research from eBay UK[1].

The majority (59%) admitted their finances are stretched and almost half (49%) of those who needed to recover from COVID-19 said they were concerned their business wouldn’t do so fully. This is having an undeniable effect on the prospects of scaling up amongst small business owners.

Meanwhile, 47% said that a lack of investment is preventing business growth, and over a third (40%) of those who needed to recover said that a lack of investment would force them to let people go.

Murray Lambell, General Manager, eBay UK said: “Thanks to the amazing resilience and adaptability of small business owners, most have successfully weathered the multiple challenges of covid, supply chain problems, and now the cost of living crisis. eBay has a long heritage in supporting our army of 300,000 small business sellers in both the good times and the more challenging times, so we’re very proud to build on this by announcing this first ever national Business Roadshow, which we hope will make a meaningful difference for small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country, providing them with the skills, investment and network to thrive in the long-term.

“We want to open our community to even more businesses, so that whichever part of our British Isles you’re based in, you can find a way to harness the huge opportunities that our platform can give to both start-up entrepreneurs and established, highly-scaled online sellers alike”

The eBay Business Roadshow will arrive in Sheffield for the first event on the 28th – 29th April.

The two day Roadshow will be held at Sheffield City Hall, and will kick off with speeches from Murray Lambell, General Manager at eBay, and Michelle Ovens, founder of Small Business Britain before a packed afternoon of educational sessions and networking, with eBay experts on hand to answer questions throughout the day. Further educational sessions on how to start up and scale up small businesses will also be held the following day – from building a sustainable business to hiring and retaining talent.

Business Clinics with eBay, Small Business Britain and the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce will also be held on-site, providing free 1-2-1 advice and solutions to address the challenges of budding entrepreneurs and small business owners – from marketing to accessing finance to selecting the right delivery provider. Businesses will also be able to access grants funding at each event, with eBay investing over £1 million in grants over the next 12 months.

Michelle Ovens CBE, Founder of Small Business Britain, said: “Despite the huge number of obstacles thrown their way, small business owners have shown incredible resilience over the last two years. Unfortunately, there are still a number of challenges ahead. Whilst we are now seeing positive signs of recovery, the huge financial pressures on small businesses remain. That’s why we’re so delighted to support the eBay Business Roadshow. Support networks and access to training and investment will be crucial for small businesses as they come out of this period and look ahead to recovery. We can’t wait to travel the country and meet some of the country’s most inspiring entrepreneurs.”

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses of all sizes, particularly small businesses, have been impacted by events out of their control. Although we’re seeing small pockets of recovery in some sectors, we know that small businesses are hit the hardest and are facing a ‘cost of doing business crisis’ with spiralling bills, inflation and supply chain issues.

“Initiatives like the eBay Business Roadshow are therefore vital to help small businesses. Not only in helping them to navigate such a complex business environment, but to provide them with much needed financial support so that they can best start up, scale and share.”

After the first event in Sheffield, eBay will visit the following towns and cities over the next twelve months:

  • Salford (26th – 27th May)
  • Newcastle (9th – 10th June)
  • Glasgow (16th – 17th June)
  • Norwich
  • Leicester
  • Reading
  • Southend on Sea
  • Plymouth
  • Cardiff
  • Bristol
  • Belfast

Further dates for the eBay Business Roadshow will be announced in the coming weeks.

Small businesses in Sheffield can express their interest and sign up to attend here: http://ebaybusinessroadshow.co.uk/

[1] Survey of 1,024 senior managers in UK companies of 2-249 employees, including a minimum of 50 in each major UK region. Carried out by Opinium between Monday 21st – 30th March.

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