Inspired by the Winter Olympic Games, Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution and MSP for Renfrewshire North and West, today (23 February) enjoyed a snowboarding lesson at Snow Factor Braehead.

Located within his constituency, Snow Factor Braehead, Scotland’s only indoor real snow-sports destination, was recently named Digital Business of the Year in the inaugural Scottish section of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) ‘Celebrating Small Business Awards 2018.’

Snow Factor, part of Ice Factor Group that also owns Ice Factor Kinlochleven in the West Highlands, has seen online sales achieve over 60% growth year-on-year since 2012 and after adopting a digital first strategy across its businesses.

This has included launching new websites, introducing new online booking structures, improving management of SEO and PPC and maximizing customer engagement through social media channels.

Mr Mackay was keen to talk to Jamie Smith, owner of Ice Factor Group and a member of FSB, the UK’s largest business organisation, about the key factors driving ongoing success of his business. Derek Mackay MSP commented:  “Small and medium sized businesses are fundamental drivers in securing sustainable economic growth. In Renfrewshire we are fortunate to have a high number of quality businesses and enterprises now operating, bringing jobs and economic growth to the local area.

“It also brings visitors to Renfrewshire. With the success of online bookings and digital promotion, businesses, such as Snow Factor, can attract visitors from across the West of Scotland and further afield to the area.

“I want to congratulate the team at Snow Factor Braehead for their recent FSB award, and thank them for taking the time to show me around.

Jamie Smith, the mountaineer and entrepreneur who before acquiring Snow Factor Braehead in 2011, also opened the world’s largest indoor ice-climbing facility at Ice Factor Kinlochleven, said: “The whole team at Snow Factor Braehead is proud to host Mr Mackay MSP today for a chance to learn more about our business including our digital first approach. Of course, it’s also an opportunity for the Minister to experience the thrill of snowboarding at a venue enjoyed throughout the year by thousands of skiers and snowboarders of all ages and ability, including members of the Scottish alpine and British Park & Pipe Teams.

“In recent year, Ice Factor Group has made considerable investment across our digital platforms.  I believe this has been recognized by our ongoing results, including increased online bookings, improved engagement with customers and the gravitas of winning the Best Digital Business Award at the FSB’s Celebrating Small Business Awards.

“As a member of the FSB since 2007, I am very proud of our success in the FSB Awards which provide an excellent platform to further highlight the achievements of Ice Factor Group and other hard working SME’s throughout the country.”