How Adobe Express is helping small businesses go big
One of the most rewarding aspects of my role at Adobe is collaborating with inspiring individuals and businesses around the world.
We’re privileged to partner, support and innovate alongside game-changing people and organisations – sometimes that’s as simple as making processes easier for seasoned designers or editors and celebrating their creativity, and sometimes it’s projects like our recent partnership with Enterprise Nation. The ambition here was to help UK small businesses go big, to get the names and products of deserving companies front and centre on advertising screens across the UK.
Small businesses have never been more important. They’re the backbone of local communities, they’re a vital way for people to turn something they love into a career and lifestyle, and they account for 99.2% of the total business population. At the start of last year, there were 5.5 million small businesses in the UK - all battling a harsh, unforgiving economic environment.
How do these organisations get their brand and products visible to as large an audience as possible? Running a business is so demanding, it can be difficult to find the time to effectively market yourself to raise vital awareness. That’s the challenge the ‘Small Business Goes Big’ competition set out to address.
We teamed up with Enterprise Nation and JCDecaux to help small businesses create adverts that could be revealed to the entire country. We invited them to design a simple yet eye-catching design for their brand using Adobe Express, our free web and mobile app allowing anyone to make standout graphics in just a few clicks - no matter their level of design experience. Ten winners would then feature on £100,000 worth of advertising space across the UK.
Choosing the final ten was much more difficult than I anticipated. The results were fantastic. There are so many brilliant people out there, pursuing their own dreams and working hard to turn them into viable businesses.
Tiwani Heritage, for example, is a sustainable plant-based hair extensions brand that puts natural afro and curly hair textures at the forefront, empowering women of colour to be authentically themselves. Its reward-based recycling scheme enables customers to send their used synthetic hair extensions for recycling, helping reduce the estimated 21,000 tonnes of synthetic hair that ends up in UK landfills every year, taking 500 years to biodegrade. Later this year, the company plans to manufacture biodegradable hair, from a by-product of banana production. This new braiding can be added to compost with food waste and will biodegrade in six months!
Boy Wonder is an ethical and sustainable boy’s fashion brand with hand-drawn designs printed using chemical-free dyes on organic cotton. The brand achieves 47 per cent less emissions than larger brands by being hyper-local and using guidelines from WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme).
Republic of Happy, meanwhile, is a range of colourful homewares from Veronica Galbraith. Originally from tropical Colombia, Veronica decided to return to work after bringing up her two boys, but found herself diagnosed with chronic fatigue quite soon after. Following years of exhaustion, she finally recovered and launched the online shop and product range she had always dreamed of last year.
There are so many more inspiring stories to tell. Throughout this blog, and hopefully out in the real world, you’ll have already seen some of the winners. Alongside the above, it’s my absolute pleasure to help spread the word about:
- The delicious and nutritious snacks range Insane Grain, which is on a mission is to help reduce childhood obesity in the UK by ensuring that low fat, sugar and salt products are more accessible
- Martha Brook, the online home of beautiful, personalised stationery that sets out to create inspiring and empowering paper goods that genuinely change people's lives
- Doji’s platform to buy and sell everyday tech goods, which is helping battle e-waste, one of the world’s fastest-growing domestic environmental problems
- Phomo, founded by Daniya Stewart, who left a 17-year career in the renewable energy sector to bring people a variety of fresh, flavoursome Vietnamese pho dishes
- Rockit’s baby rocker sleep aid technology that has won two Queens Awards for Enterprise in innovation and international trade, designed by “two sleep-deprived dads in Bristol”. I wish this had been around when my two daughters were babies!
- Turtle Pack, a unique and innovative range of products that help kids learn to swim, safely, to tackle the growing number of children leaving primary school without being able to swim (not just a health issue but a safety risk)
- Wallaroo, the Oxfordshire-based producer working with small community farms in Africa to deliver sustainably grown tropical fruit snacks, rated as some of the best tasting single ingredient dried fruit snacks currently on the market
This competition was a joy to take part in. Now it’s your turn to get involved. Check out the companies, head to their sites. Support your own local businesses. We can empower the next generation of entrepreneurs as they continue to enhance our communities and lives.
The winning designs can be seen below: