Back to the winners...
All the firms listed in this year's Winner's List have beat off stiff competition for their place. They are the cream of the crop, the tip of the top, the pinnacle of entrepreneurial excellence. Well done.
The Smarta 100 is a business analyst's dream come true. Hot sectors emerge, entrepreneurial data stacks up and the current shape of the UK enterprise landscape comes into view.
Here are a few of the recession-busting, fast-growing sectors making waves in this year's Awards. Group-buying is one fast-growing niche. Following the success of Groupon, a number of start-ups are playing into the space. Some are hoping to replicate the US giant's success exactly. Others, like TipToken and Crowdity in this year's list, are innovating to bring something new to the table.
Cocktails are also a high growth area. Squeezed by recession, people still want their little luxuries - they just want them on a budget, in the comfort of their own homes. Both Rocktails and Nuba Cocktails are making great strides in this new retail environment.
Another sector than does well in a downturn is dating. We've got two dating businesses in this year's Smarta 100: Lovestruck and Isomob, the makers of Flirtfinder. When the chips are down, people want a little love in their lives. And with the smart introduction of micropayments and flexible services accessible via smartphone, users don't feel like they are paying through the nose for it.
On a macroeconomic level, the Smarta 100 reveals some interesting financial data: Smarta 100 revenues total over £65,000,000 with an average turnover of £692,000. And our winners are contributing more to the nation's coffers than they're borrowing too, with over half (51%) entirely self-funded.
One in five Smarta 100 firms have taken private investment; seven used a bank loan to start-up. Five sought funding from friends and family, two were invested in by larger companies, one was entirely crowd-funded and two won investment on TV's Dragons' Den.
On average, Smarta 100 winners are three years and two months old. They employ a total of 740 people, with 9% employing a staff of more than 20. Smarta 100 businesses tend to be running lean operations however, with a growing shift to virtual teams and networks of freelancers - 79% employ fewer than 10 people and 68% fewer than five.
The Smarta 100 also tells us about the people behind Britain's brightest small businesses. This year's winners are 55% male, 45% female, aged between 18 and 52 with an average of 33. In case you were wondering, 25% of them are either a Virgo or Libra zodiac sign - with only two Sagittarians!