Latest statistics show small increase in number of small businesses

The latest statistics on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK show that there was a small increase of 1.4% in the number of small businesses from 2004 to 2005.

The figures produced by the Small Business Service (SBS) show that there were an estimated 4.3 million business enterprises in the UK at the start of 2005, an increase of 59,000 on the start of 2004. They also revealed that small businesses (0 to 49 employees) accounted for 46.8% of employment and 36.4% of turnover.

99.3% of the 4.3 million enterprises were small businesses (0 to 49 employees). Only 27,000 (0.6%) were medium-sized (50 to 249 employees) and just 6,000 (0.1%) were large companies (250+ employees).

At the start of 2005, UK enterprises employed an estimated 22 million people, and had an estimated combined annual turnover of £2,400 billion. Small enterprises alone (0 to 49 employees) accounted for 46.8% of employment and 36.4% of turnover.

Enterprises with and without employees
At the start of 2005, the number of enterprises with no employees was 3.2 million, equivalent to 72.8% of all enterprises.

Enterprises with no employees are sole proprietors and partnerships comprising only the self-employed owner-manager(s), and companies comprising only an employee director. They had an estimated combined turnover of £190 billion.

Legal status of enterprises
There are an estimated 2.7 million sole proprietors in the UK, and 320,000 (11.7%) of them have employees.

It’s estimated that there are 520,000 partnerships, 190,000 of them (37.3%) have employees.

There are 1.08 million companies and 670,000 of them (61.4%) have employees.

Changes in the number of enterprises
The estimated number of enterprises at the start of 2005 is 59,000 more than at the start of 2004. These levels are the highest since the measures began in 1994.

The figures reveal that the number of companies has gone up by 61,000 (5.9%) during 2004 to 1.1 million. This is the eighth successive year that companies have increased in number.

The number of sole proprietors has changed little, with a small increase of 22,000, taking it up to 2.7 million. Meanwhile, the number of partnerships has gone down by 24,000 to 520,000.

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