A WEST Devon businesswoman who makes comfortable and practical farm overalls for women has travelled to London to promote small businesses like hers ahead of Small Business Saturday.

Amanda Marshall, founder and owner of 3Donkeys, based in Norhtlew, made the journey to the House of Lords yesterday (Wednesday) as businesses prepare for the nationwide promotion this coming Saturday (December 3). The initiative, now in its tenth year, encourages people to support small local businesses. Ahead of the event Amanda met with her local MP and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride, who was interested to learn more about her business and how it was founded.

Amanda explained: ‘3Donkeys sells exclusive 2-into-1 overalls which are designed by women for women. Whether it’s mucking out horses or working on a farm, women have historically worn overalls that are designed for men and this hasn’t always been practical or comfortable. 3Donkeys was established to put this right and the response has been brilliant.’

Mel said: ‘I am very proud to have a local business based here in Northlew being recognised nationally. 3Donkeys is revolutionising outdoor clothing for women and it was great to meet Amanda and hear her story. I hope it inspires other businesses to think about whether they are missing out by not sufficiently catering for women.’Last year the number of registered companies in Devon rose to 60,022, up from 57,278 in 2020. The small business landscape is increasingly tough.Yet nationally, the 800,000 businesses started during 2020 and 2021, have the potential to add £20bn to the UK economy if they succeed, with the right support.Independent charity Devon Communities Together (DCT) supports hundreds of new start-ups and small businesses through the Devon Social Enterprise Network and its New Start Devon programme, which receives funding from the European Regional Development Fund for free advice and coaching to start-ups and other microbusinesses.

DCT project manager Hannah Reynolds said: ‘Our New Start Devon programme provides a minimum of 12 hours’ completely free support to anyone who has an idea for an enterprise, or existing small business owners who aren’t sure about their next steps.

‘We provide a mix of one-to-one coaching, an online ‘bootcamp’ and tailored workshops with experts to help people develop their ideas and businesses. We aim to create a really open, supportive environment where people can feel inspired and upskilled to achieve their goals.’

See https://devoncommunities.org.uk/projects/enterprise-coaching-new-start-devon