Unemployment is in decline. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number of people out of work is at its lowest since the onset of the 2008 economic crisis. By the same token, employment is at its highest since records began in 1971.
This is in no small part due to our growing army of entrepreneurs, to the wealth creators and job providers that have helped get the UK back on its feet following a testing recession.
The UK has done much to burnish its start-up credentials since 2008 and is today home to a thriving entrepreneurial culture.
The pressure of recession played an important part in forcing us to think more creatively about job creation, making Britain a more attractive place to start, grow and invest in a business. Last week it was announced that the number of firms in the private sector has reached a record 5.4 million
Our collective efforts have nurtured an environment in which entrepreneurs flourish. We are now globally recognised as a start-up champion, with a record 550,000 new businesses founded in 2014 alone.
The enthusiasm and drive of the UK's small businesses match that of any large corporation – they are the heartbeat of industry, providing the engine room for broader economic recovery. With sustained confidence, the future is looking bright for British business.
But there can be no room for complacency. Even the strongest of economies can be exposed, as seen most recently by the impact of fluctuating inflation rates on the Chinese markets.
As a nation we must continue to foster international partnerships, primarily through exporting our own goods and services.
Read more: Entrepreneurs – born or made?
This is the central purpose of next year’s International Festival for Business, built as it is on the firm belief that prosperity comes from developing mutually beneficial business connections. Thousands of new jobs were created and £300m worth of deals were signed at the inaugural IFB, an achievement we hope to match at next year’s festival.
Increasing small businesses' direct engagement with international markets can only help our economy grow, providing fresh opportunities for SMEs to connect with new partners and generate increased income.
The UK's small enterprise community has a wealth of innovators and entrepreneurs capable of sustaining economic growth – it's time we let the rest of the world know just how strong our businesses really are.