First Minister Nicola Sturgeon thanked smaller firms for driving growth in Scotland in her speech to the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) largest ever annual dinner. The First Minister said to the event which attracted more than 260 business owners, politicians and key decision-makers: “Small businesses are crucial – not just to the strength of Scotland’s economy, but to the health of our society. And so the main message of this speech is a very simple one. Thank you.” The gathering, supported by Scotland’s only fintech lender LendingCrowd, took place in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel. In addition to the speech from the FM, guests were treated to an incredible presentation from a local business owner that overcame adversity to succeed in enterprise. FSB member Kate Davies spoke to the crowd about her inspiring business journey that started when a stroke ended her academic career at the age 36. However, since then, by turning her childhood hobby knitting into business, she has built an exceptionally successful small firm. Kate Davies Designs has grown from selling digital patterns for hand knitters worldwide to becoming a small manufacturer producing yarn and hand knitted accessories and in the process winning microbusiness of the year at the 2016 FSB awards. After a day of dizzying political ups-and-downs the First Minister made it to the dinner and took to the stage to make the keynote address. In her speech she praised much of FSB’s key work, saying of our recent #ThinkSelfEmployed campaign “It’s a really important reminder for those of us who make policy that small businesses need to be uppermost in our minds.” The First Minister also highlighted FSB’s recent research on the economic value of women’s enterprise, noting: “I was also quite struck by the findings the FSB published earlier this week on women in small businesses. You said that the contribution to Scotland’s economy made by businesses owned by women had increased by 76% since 2012 – from £5 billion to almost £9 billion.” And mentioning key lobbying successes, the FM said: “Our decision to make prompt payment part of the business pledge was a direct result of representations from the FSB and others.” After her keynote speech the First Minister took the opportunity to chat to FSB members and of course get plenty of selfies. The evening also raised money for FSB’s charity partner in Scotland, Calums Cabin, who provide holiday homes on the isle of Bute for families with a child affected by cancer, guests were extremely generous and raised around £2,500. You may also like 07 December 2018 Weekly Brief 49 - Friday 7 December 2019 20 November 2018 Join us on Thursday for our Growth Finance Twitter chat 14 November 2018 How role models inspire women to start up their own businesses 01 March 2017 Working with the British Business Bank to improve finance markets for smaller UK businesses 26 August 2016 Weekly Brief 34 – Friday 26 August 2016 15 July 2016 What’s The Big Deal?