Today is Small Business Saturday.

But I am going to start with how we got here as an agency. We launched in January 2021 in the middle of a high street reopening engagement. I saw a problem and wanted to solve it. How could we take the work I was doing and scale it to help more councils and BIDs — build community, use digital tools, placemaking, and business training — to help reimagine their high street experience? I also wanted to:

  • Increase footfall.

  • Open new shops that were community-led, locally owned.

  • Generate earned media in tier one outlets.

  • Increase local pride in the area.

  • Empower and educate businesses and community partners on how to reach customers when their shops were open, and closed. #WeAreAlwaysOpen

  • Raise awareness with a broader audience.

  • Access grant funds nearing 1m.

  • Create engaging, results-driven placemaking events.

So I founded DigiKind and that is exactly what we did and continue to do for our public sector and non profit clients. We help small businesses, together with our public sector partners. It is the best job I’ve had in a long time.

Fast forward to 4:15am on a very cold Friday morning.

Yesterday the DigiKind team that worked on the My Royal Borough high street reopening — Kathy and Rosie — woke up at oh dark thirty and made the trip up to Birmingham for the 7th UnAwards, hosted by Darren Caveney. It is a celebration of public sector comms excellence. It was a blast!

With 342 entries and 109 shortlisted finalists, 27 judges selected 19 winners (and 27 highly commended) as the best of the best in UK comms. DigiKind received Highly Commended in our category. I am really proud of this achievement, of our work, and of all of those listed in the shortlist. I am really proud to be included with them and of my brilliant clients for their vision, collaborative spirit and team work.

I love the UnAwards – it is a place where exceptional work is celebrated. I am proud to sponsor, to be shortlisted and was honoured to judge a category this year: Best Social Media Account. The competition was FIERCE and I awarded Highly Commended to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and the overall winner to South Wales Police. I can’t wait for the Comms Files to be published so everyone can read about these programmes. So totally impressive. Well done to all of the applicants in this category – each of you were inspiring and truly outstanding. You can find all of the brilliant winners on Darren’s website.

You can read about our engagement with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in our recent article published in the Municipal Journal.

Today is Small Business Saturday and our comms and dev teams are working on New Malden’s campaign for the Royal Borough of Kingston and have shared advice for SMEs on our How To Series blog. I hope all of our colleagues are supporting their SME communities via their comms channels today and you all have a great Small Business Saturday.

About DigiKind

We are a communications agency that helps Councils, BIDs, and community partners like Power to Change reimagine and transform their high streets through community building and empowerment. Today is Small Business Saturday and the work continues. I hope you are all supporting local today. It isn’t about how much we buy — but where we buy it, source it, and more. If you need help, it’s what we do at DigiKind. Get in touch to get started.