The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (formerly known as the DTI) has published some interesting statistics on the state of small business in the UK.
The data reveals that there were around 4.5m enterprises in the UK at the beginning of 2006 (a 2.9% increase on the previous year). SME’s employed around 13.2m people and produced over half of all private sector turnover in the country.
Type of Enterprises
Of these 4.5m businesses, a massive 99.3% were “small” (0-49 employees). 0.6% were “medium-sized” (50-249 employees), and just 6,000 enterprises are defined as “large” (Over 250 employees).
SME’s accounted for over half the employment (58.9%) and business turnover (51.9%) in the UK during 2006.
Number of Employees
At the start of 2006, the number of enterprises with no employees was 3.3 million, or 73% of all enterprises. However this proportion varies among different industries, from 87.7 per cent for Education, to 15.8 per cent for Hotels and Restaurants.
Enterprises with no employees are either sole proprietorships and partnerships comprising only the self-employed owner-manager(s), or companies comprising only an employee director. They had an estimated combined turnover of £208 billion.
At the start of 2006, the number of enterprises with employees was 1.2 million, an increase of 25,000 (2.1%) on the start of 2005. They had an estimated combined turnover of £2,406 billion at the start of 2006.
The number of enterprises has risen 2.9% since the start of 2005 – the highest levels since data was first collected in this manner in 1994.
According to the data, there were around 2.8m sole traders in the UK at the start of 2006. Just 322,000 (11.4%) had employees. This is an increase of 75,000 sole traderships on the previous year.
Of the 505,000 partnerships, 188,000 (37.3%) had any employees. This is a decline in 11,000 on 2005 levels.
There were 1,145,000 companies and 693,000 of them (60.6%) had employees. There has been a 5.6% increase in the number of companies since 2005 – the ninth successive year we have seen an incrase.