Before Rockpool was formed as it is today, FES Enterprises (Frances & Emily) was an entity in it’s own right. Together with Jen from Jen Sinclair Design, they formed what is known as Rockpool Creative, a collaborative marketing agency, housing many freelancers under it’s umbrella.

In 2019, my colleagues Frances and Emily (who were known together as FES Enterprises) were honoured to receive the SBS – Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday Award, propelling them into the vibrant community of small businesses in the UK. This accolade granted them entry into the annual SBS event held at the Birmingham ICC, a gathering known for championing enterprises like ours.

Theo Paphitis, renowned for his fervent support of small enterprises, carefully selects six businesses each week to join the SBS community. Small businesses stand among over 4,000 active members, showcasing the diverse landscape of small businesses in the UK.

On Friday 23rd February, Frances and I, alongside our lovely friend and client Jane Taylor, attended the event. The atmosphere was electric, with over a thousand attendees buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit and a shared commitment to success.

One striking revelation of the day was the statistic indicating that over 80% of the event’s attendees were female, highlighting the significant role women play in the world of small business. The highlight for us was the fireside chat featuring Stacey Solomon, who alongside Theo Paphitis has left a lasting impression, with Stacey’s innovative and straightforward approach resonating deeply with us.

Moreover, we had the opportunity to delve into the transformative potential of AI in social contexts, with insights gleaned from Google representatives sparking engaging discussions on how businesses can leverage these advancements.

The event featured an array of esteemed speakers, including Kypros Kyprianou, CEO of the Theo Paphitis retail group, Susan Bonner, founder of The British Craft House, who shared her journey from business idea to achieving a million-pound turnover, and representatives from NatWest, offering valuable advice on paving the way to success.

A sumptuous lunch (served with real cutlery and crockery!) provided a welcomed refreshment break before we learned about the pioneering SBS Invest opportunity and received generous goody bags filled with useful items.

The day concluded with a sense of anticipation for future opportunities and growth, as we left with hearts full of inspiration and minds buzzing with new ideas. For our small business and countless others, the SBS event was not just a gathering; it was a reaffirmation of the power of community, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

As we eagerly await the next years of the event, Frances, Emily and I look forward to continuing our journey of growth and impact, fuelled by the invaluable connections, nuggets of inspiration and insights gained from this unforgettable experience.

Thank you SBS team! What an amazing event!