A ripped piece of brown paper with 'small business' typed on it, using a typewriter

Small businesses make a big difference

In this digital age, when we’re often deluged with online advertising and organise our lives on social media, it’s easy to forget important role that print plays in community life. Think about the last time you walked around your local area. Did you see posters? Or leaflets and pamphlets? Perhaps now and again you keep a business card from a local shop. All these things contribute to a thriving community and help to create connections beyond the internet.

In a little village in Hampshire, UK, Colin and Kate Hoskins have grown their business from small beginnings. ‘YesPrint Limited’ began Colin’s garage, but quickly outgrew it and in 2001 moved to premises on the land of the local farm, which had been converted for businesses. They have an impressive client base and are capable of a spectrum of work but have close relationships with many local businesses and organisations, often going the extra mile to make sure they are well looked after. “We do loads of different kinds of work,” explains Kate. “From large corporate to small local businesses. Helping the local clubs and societies to produce things like their newsletters and circulars. We also support the local churches and charities.”

Doordrops, posters, leaflets and handouts can be essential in many villages. Especially in those with an older community or where network coverage is patchy, printed communications are the inclusive way of reaching everyone. Colin and Kate have a real sense of their community and the important part that they play in it. In understanding the value of effective print marketing and what it is to be a growing company, they are trusted advisors to charitable groups and businesses alike. Their local museum, for example, is staffed by volunteers who rely on YesPrint to not only provide their print, but to help turn their materials into digital files and act as A sort of ‘print on demand’ archive for when they need more. “For the museum, we work with a lovely, lovely gentleman who was a history teacher at the local college and puts together publications about the local area and history. We scan old newspapers and photographs and make it all into a digital publication for print – we have a whole library of his books.” They’ve also painstakingly taken their old publications apart to create new versions where digital files do not exist.

A selection of leaflets 
Kate and Colin of YesPrint Limited have been happily fulfilling the print needs of both large corporate clients and their local community groups for nearly twenty years.

When they rise to the challenges of their small customers in this way, the business is not simply transactional. There’s a friendship and respect from both sides. “We recognise the value of the organisations that do important jobs in the local area and most of them are volunteers, they don’t get paid for what they do. We’re a company, yes we’re here to make money, but also trying to help if we can.” Kate frequently drops into the local Surrey Heath Museum shop and is always given the traditional British “biscuits and tea” welcome. So, while the professional print arm of Yes Print continues to grow, the local businesses, churches, clubs and societies add a truly community-minded culture to YesPrint.

This culture is shared in Nigeria, where KasPrints in Abuja, Nigeria is serving the community in a different, but equally important way – by creating opportunities for the print professionals of the future. After a quarter of a century in business, they’ve seen a need to develop skills and grow the availability of print across Nigeria. Through their KP2 Partnership Programme , print, graphic design and publishing entrepreneurs are invited to apply for unlimited access to one of six digital hubs, which are equipped with all the state-of-the-art computer and print hardware they would need to be able to look after their customers’ needs. Successful applicants would also participate in a training and development programme to take them on their business journey.

Launched at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the scheme was applauded by Minister Festus Keyamo, “This provides a platform for youths who do not have the capital to start small businesses. We think it’s a very, very good initiative.” In a region where the need for print is increasing, KasPrints are creating a unique opportunity for widespread access to professional standard print across Nigeria, while supporting local entrepreneurs to deliver it. KasPrints MD and CEO, Ademola Kasumu sums up neatly, “We allow you to become your own boss.”

Join us in celebrating the print providers that support communities on Small Business Saturday, 30thNovember.

Written by Anna Shaw