23 MAR 2021
Many nations are preparing to mark the milestone of a year since their governments imposed the first national coronavirus lockdown. I want to take a moment to reflect on the powerful stories of agility, creativity and resilience shared by some small and medium businesses.
Here's three customers’ stories that impressed me:
- The Hiut Denim Company – based in the small town of Cardigan in South West Wales, the SME makes high-quality jeans. The founders set up the business in 2011 following the closure of UK’s biggest jeans factory in 2002. They realised expertise was in the town of Cardigan and set about building their brand around a social mission to get the town making jeans again. For a period during the pandemic, they switched production from their usual manufacturing of jeans to NHS scrubs – supporting those working on the frontline. The company have now adjusted and are back to producing jeans with social distancing measures in place.
- UNITI – based in British Columbia, Canada. UNITI is the partnership of three sister societies that work together to galvanize the development of diverse and inclusive communities. In particular, the Semiahmoo House Society provides quality services and support to people with disabilities and their families. The organisation moved from Sage 300 to Sage Intacct, with the first stage of its finance transformation taking place right as COVID-19 hit. Despite the challenges of working remotely, the organisation were able to use Intacct’s capabilities to limit unnecessary covid exposure for staff working with vulnerable communities. Its new paperless workflow means they are now able to easily support staff in making good financial decisions and reporting back to government agencies – whilst ensuring they address the needs of the communities they serve.
- Solar Solve Marine – based in South Shields. This family run business was originally founded in 1975. The business manufacturers bespoke anti-glare screens for the navigation bridge windows of ships. The company has a network of global distributors including in South Korea, where most of the world’s shipbuilding now takes place. Once the pandemic hit, their sales and marketing admin team had to direct more effort at alternative markets for extra business. Marketing methods and strategies had to be redefined and updated – resulting in an interest from new sectors and orders to refurbish solar sunscreens. Employees have now returned to working from their headquarters in South Shields and the company are continuing to push ahead.
These are just three fantastic stories that have kept me feeling optimistic. We all must play a proactive role in supporting SMEs. As mentioned previously, with the right support, they will power our recovering economies.