How small businesses are at the heart of local communities

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Most small firms provide valuable services and employment to their local communities – but many go beyond this, actively seeking out ways to help out good causes in their area. And, as Peter Crush from the Federation for Small Business (FSB) explains, there are sound business reasons for getting involved, as well as charitable ones.

Whichever way you cut it, the UK’s small businesses are the backbone of the economy. According to FSB statistics from 2018, they comprise 99 per cent of private sector businesses, employ 60 per cent of the private sector workforce, and create £2 trillion of turnover. In economic terms, they’re the success story that keeps giving.



As a successful recruitment agency serving West Yorkshire and Humberside, it could be said Stafflex is embedded in the local community. At any one time, it has 200 jobs that need placing per week, mainly in the temporary, industrial sector. 

However, its marketing executive Nemi Alexis isn’t wrong when he says few companies do as much as Stafflex does to ‘get under the skin’ of the community. 

“We support a not-for-profit events company set up by our founder, called Huddersfield Live,” he says. “This organises community events for the local area, including the Huddersfield Winter Festival. We also support the Ravensknowle Children’s Gala – where children can have a free tea and a day’s entertainment at Ravensknowle Park; and and we are on a committee board that organises an annual community Christmas lunch. Last year it raised £32,000.” 

Perhaps Stafflex’s biggest commitment is its sponsorship of the Leslie Sports Foundation, set up by former Huddersfield Town chairman Graham Leslie, which gives local people access to coached sport (Stafflex Arena currently supports 32 football league clubs and is a hub for local sport).

“It costs us money, but that’s not the point,” says Mr Alexis. “It’s part of our ethos. Being a good, responsible business is about solidifying your position locally. There are lots of recruitment agencies, but we feel our difference is being central to the community – by our observable actions as well as our physical presence.” 

Staff buy into the concept of giving something back, too. “We give people an afternoon off each quarter to volunteer in their community,” he says. “It’s ingrained into our working culture. It’s for a greater social good but it also makes great business sense.”

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