THE director of an award-winning poultry supplier has been supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of small businesses.

Margaret Manchester, managing director at Durham Hens, near Tow Law, was invited to 10 Downing Street to help celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Economic Secretary, Stephen Barclay, addressed Mrs Manchester and other business owners on the importance of small businesses to employment and the national economy, before introducing the newly appointed Small Business Commissioner, Paul Uppal.

Mrs Manchester said the appointment of Mr Uppal was a positive move, adding: “Small businesses employ over 16 million people in the UK and are vital to the local and national economy. However, they are finding it more and more difficult to compete with large stores and internet giants. “When customers buy from small businesses, they get a wealth of expert knowledge and free advice which is rarely available when buying elsewhere. Please support your small businesses.”

Durham Hens, which sell hens for egg production and for pets, won Micro Business of the Year at the Federation of Small Businesses Awards this year. It was chosen to be one of the 100 companies to be showcased by Small Business Saturday in the run up to Christmas.