Each and every conference room was packed to the rafters. Why? Because Dragons' Den investor Peter Jones, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable and founder of Gu Puds James Averdieck were on hand with advice on how to make a business more successful.
The atmosphere at the festival was electric as entrepreneurs made connections, networked and picked up real business tips to help them grow and streamline their businesses. This mood was best encapsulated by Dragon Peter Jones. He said: "Entrepreneurship is the new rock and roll!"
The message to the thousands who attended was simple: no matter who you are or your financial situation, if you put your mind to it you can start a successful business. Minister of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Mark Prisk reiterated this vision in his speech: "It doesn't matter where you come from, if you have that ambition and determination, then you can be your own boss. You can make that fortune."
This was the message echoed by Sir Richard Branson, who addressed the audience with a video message. He was followed by 22-year-old Zoe Jackson, founder of performing arts company Living The Dream. She joined Vince Cable on stage to explain how she launched her business at the age of just 16. Her story was an incredible example of how, with passion, all barriers to business can be overcome.
Here are Smarta's favourite quotes from the festival:
"You should try everything you can to start your business through self funding, because as soon as you let someone invest in your business, you effectively become an employee."
"I want entrepreneurship in the national curriculum. We need to inspire a cultural shift so even more people will start their own business."
"The old idea of a career is gone. People don't stay comfortably in one job forever. Everyone's having to hustle and become more flexible. Entrepreneurship is one of these things.
"The key thing for an entrepreneur is energy."
"20 years ago I started my own business and people told me it was the wrong moment. I decided to take the plunge and do it. It was difficult at first but also exhilarating and the best thing I've ever done. So to everyone hesitant about starting a business due to the financial situation, I say this, If you can make it now, you can make it any time."
"The greatest problem for entrepreneurs looking to start their first business is fear. The only antidote to that is passion."
"Always remember why you started a business in the first place."