Small businesses take the lead supporting each other through a cash-strapped economy

Cast your mind back to the early 80’s and a new Saturday morning TV programme grabbed the nation’s imagination through a really simple concept:

A child needed something and would offer up a much-loved toy in exchange. With lots of outside broadcasts, fun and chaos.

Yes you’ve guessed it, Multi-coloured Swap Shop.

Now fast forward to 2020.  As lockdown was announced, small businesses in Derby faced a very uncertain future with the initial panic caused by the Coronavirus with contracts being cancelled at every turn.

Their business community quickly pulled together to create their own version of the online Swap Shop led by Rachel Hayward of the award-winning, bid writing consultancy service, Ask the Chameleon. The team behind Derby Swap Shop includes internationally recognised sports apparel brand Huub and think3, local creative and design agency.

The idea is pretty simple – just like the original TV Show. An individual, small business or charity from across Derbyshire is looking for something. In return they will provide a swap offering goods or services.

After the initial success and over 200 active users later, the team set up the Notts Swap Shop, which is supported by the Nottingham Library and IP Centre and Nottingham CVS. Launched only a couple of weeks ago, it has 50 members and a growing list of swaps on the website.

Now it’s time for Leicester to launch on 23 September 2020.

The Swap Shop is free to use for small businesses and charities alike:

  • Perhaps you’re a restaurant needing some IT support, maybe you can offer a meal for 4 as a swap?
  • Maybe you’re a seamstress who needs a logo creating and can offer some masks/PPE/uniform in return?
  • Perhaps you’re a VA who needs some printing and can offer some administrative support?

If you need some support on a project, no matter how large or small and you’d like to offer your goods or services in return, get your swap listed – it’s a win-win!

The ideas are endless. Take a look at the DerbySwapShop and NottsSwapShop websites for inspiration and

The key is finding the right match. There will be someone across Leicester and Leicestershire who can swap with you, opening up endless possibilities of networking, making new connections and joining in with the brilliant community spirit of our county. Not sure if you match exactly, then why not make them an offer?

The local champions of the Leics Swap Shop are Nicola Moss of social media start-up Moss Social, a social media management business, Jessica Southworth or Your Sidekick offering operational admin support and Sonia Viner most recently of local charity, Mosaic.

Nicola tells us “ I’m thrilled to be joining the team at LeicsSwapShop as a small business champion for Leicester & Leicestershire. Having worked with small businesses for the last few years at the FSB, I’m truly inspired by the courage and determination they show in the face of adversity. Both the DerbySwapShop and NottsSwapShop have brought many businesses together through a wide variety of products and services being offered, I’m intrigued to see how this network will grow and what creative swaps we’ll see being posted.”

Jessica explained her reason for getting involved “Coming from the charity sector I recognised what a powerful role a platform like this could provide to organisations who just need a little dash of expertise or manpower, and was really keen to get involved. I’m used to doing business in a fun, friendly, informal way – who needs to wake up for another breakfast networking meeting?! and I think it will prove to be a real force for good in Leicester, making lending a hand so much easier.”

Sonia adds “I am incredibly honoured to be part of the Leicester Swap Shop team. I am passionate about Leicester & Leicestershire and am keen to see them both thrive. Leicester Swap Shop will make a huge difference to many businesses or charities who may be struggling in the difficult post COVID-19 world and I am excited to see how it grows and work with the businesses and charities that want to be involved. “

The will be launched on 23 September.

 Join us on Wednesday 23 September at 10am – it’s a brief half hour zoom call to answer any questions you may have and encourage you to check out the swaps and add your own. If you’d like to come along, send an email to [email protected] and we’ll send you the zoom link.

Media enquiries: [email protected] 07432 766001