AN ONLINE roadshow is coming to Dorset to offer support and mentoring for small businesses and communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Small Business Saturday UK, a grassroots, non-commercial campaign which highlights business success and encourages consumers to shop local, is virtually visiting the county as part of a nationwide tour.

On Wednesday, November 25, The Tour will offer an intensive programme of locally targeted online advice, workshops and mentoring, including insights from business and political leaders.

There will also be a number of interviews with owners of local businesses, including Emma Teasdale from Bonjour Cafe in Poundbury, and Kirsten Sare Makeup Artis and Cloudhill Productions in Dorchester.

Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday UK, said: "This year has been incredibly tough for small businesses, financially, operationally, mentally and emotionally.

"This means our mission to support and celebrate small businesses across the UK becomes even more vital and ambitious.

"I would encourage small businesses in Dorset and across the south west to get involved in The Tour. As well as offering fantastic support and networking opportunities, it will also be a lot of fun."

The online roadshow is replacing the Small Business Saturday UK bus tour which has been running for eight years.

The Tour will virtually visit more than 30 locations across the UK to support and uplift small businesses facing the challenge of a second wave of Covid restrictions.

BT's Enterprise unit in the south of England, the official supporter of The Tour, is also working to help small businesses through its Skills for Tomorrow programme, designed to help develop digital skills.

Director Jon Pollock said: "Despite this year being phenomenally tough for small businesses across the UK, we have seen many businesses embrace the benefits that being more digital can bring for them, their employees and their customers.

"To make that leap, they need support and encouragement. The Tour 2020 is another great initiative from the Small Business Saturday team, and we're delighted to be involved.

"We all have a role to play in helping our small business community and we look forward to offering mentoring support and helping them to develop their digital skills through our BT Skills for Tomorrow programme."

For more information and to get involved, visit the Small Business Saturday website.