Not only do these inspiring companies contribute 48.1 per cent of private sector turnover but they also represent some of the fastest growing firms in the UK, driving the recovery and enabling Britain to compete on an international stage. More importantly, these enterprises are also likely to pass on major benefits to the people of the UK as they expand, already accounting for 59.3 per cent of private sector employment with many more expressing the intention to increase staff numbers in 2014. As December's Small Business Saturday initiative highlighted, these independent businesses have the power to become a focal point in the local community, creating a keen sense of togetherness by fostering ties between consumers and businesses alike. Of course none of these welcome factors would be possible without the millions of enterprising individuals who take the brave steps to launch a business. These entrepreneurs sacrifice both time and money to serve the nation's needs, often having to put their own private lives on hold to make their business a success. To show gratitude for this momentous effort, Aldermore is inviting the nation to step forward this week and give these small businesses some much-deserved recognition. Throughout the week, Aldermore will be exploring how consumers, educators and the public sector feel about the role small businesses play in UK society and speaking to some of the SMEs that are making the recovery possible. Join the conversation on Twitter and share your thoughts on why small businesses deserve your appreciation this Valentine's Day using the #LoveSmallBiz hashtag. The content published on this website is intended to provide information only. The reader should seek advice from experts on the subject matter and independently verify the accuracy and relevance of any information provided here before relying upon it or using it for any reason. You can view our terms and conditions here.