You partner with a lot of businesses when you plan an event. Even if all the planning happens within your company, you’re still likely booking a venue, hiring catering or food delivery services, printing signage, and buying swag for your attendees. And each one of those steps is an opportunity to support small businesses with your next event. While you can go above and beyond to support local shops, you certainly don’t have to. There are many ways to support small businesses—and many reasons to, as well. In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of small businesses and how you can support them with your next event.

The Importance of Small Businesses

Generally speaking, small businesses are defined by their ownership, number of employees, and/or revenue. The good news is that you don’t have to vet a business to determine whether or not it’s small—the company website will usually tell you. Sometimes, it’s obvious without a website visit. For example, your favorite coffee shop that only has one location and two dozen employees is probably a small business.

These local firms are critical to the local and national economies. For starters, small businesses are a huge source of job creation. Since 1995, they’ve accounted for 62% of new jobs. Plus, they account for almost half of U.S. economic activity. On top of that, they spark creativity and foster diversity within the community. So when you support small businesses with your next event, you’re supporting your community at the local and national levels.

How to Support Small Businesses With Your Next Event

Of course, one of the best ways to support small and local businesses is with your event budget. Instead of going with a large chain, find a small shop that can meet your needs. This may increase your event budget by a small amount, depending on where your event is located—but shopping small doesn’t always mean paying more. And if it does cost a little more, that money is supporting your local community and its members, which ultimately benefits you and your business in return. Let’s take a closer look at five easy ways you can support small businesses with your next event.

1. Book a local venue

You need to host your event somewhere, right? Why not choose a local spot! This could be a traditional event venue that’s unique to your area. But it could also be a winery with private event space or a nearby coworking space. You might need to do a little more digging to find the cool, local hotspot. But it will be worth it for the unique experience it gives your guests. Plus, the small business will get exposure to every guests who attends. It’s a win all around!

2. Use local sponsors

Yes, sponsors typically pay you for presence at your event. But do you consider small businesses when you seek out sponsors? What other types of partnerships can you create with local shops? Presence at your event can give small businesses exposure over their big chain-store competitors—or just reach a new audience in a different market. If you’re seeking sponsors for your next event, contact some local businesses and see how you can build a mutually beneficial relationship with them.

3. Hire a local caterer

If you’re serving food and/or drink at your event, shop local! Maybe that favorite coffee shop caters small events, or local food trucks can show up during the lunch hour. Granted, not every small restaurant offers large ordering for an event. But plenty do, and it’s a simple way to shop small. There may even be a proper catering shop near you! Whatever food and drink needs you have, do some online searching to find caterers near you before booking the large businesses.

4. Order from a small print shop

What resources are you printing for your event? Posters, tabletop signs, handouts, and name tags can all be printed by a small print shop. It could be one local to your city or town, but it doesn’t have to be. Not every town has a print shop, but you can usually place your order online and have everything shipped to you. This is especially convenient if you don’t have a lot of materials to print.

5. Buy swag from a small business

Are you doing any giveaways, swag bags, or favors? Include items from a small business if you can. We know this isn’t always possible—many times, you’re using company-branded items that have already been ordered in bulk. But maybe you can add a candle from local shop or a gift card to a new restaurant. Giveaways for contests can also be filled with small business goodies. For some events, stores will donate a gift basket for the occasion.


There are so many ways to support small businesses with your next event. We’ve just covered five simple ideas in this post—but any time you need event support, a small business can help. If you’re concerned about any added costs, do some research ahead of your budget creation. That way, you know what to expect and can pick and choose how you’ll be able to shop small.

What are some other ways to support small businesses? Share your ideas with us below!