Surge in registrations

Scotland ends decade with highest number of businesses

Andrew McRae

Andrew McRae: ‘fantastic increase’

Scotland has more registered businesses per head of population now than at any point over the last ten years, according to official figures.

Statistics highlighted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) ahead of Small Business Saturday (7 December) show 396 registered businesses per 10,000 adults against 357 in 2010.

The figures also show that almost all (99.3%) Scottish businesses are classed as small or medium sized (SME). These operators now provide an estimated 1.2 million jobs in Scotland – more than half of all private sector employment. 

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chairman, said: “The last decade has been no walk in the park for Scotland’s economy. We’ve had to shake off the hangover from the financial crisis, seen individual industries rise and fall, and faced an extremely changeable political climate. 

“But despite it all, we’ve also seen a rise in the number of registered businesses per head of population. This demonstrates that across Scotland we’ve still got a large number of people that want to start up on their own and many others working hard to grow and sustain their business.”

Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “These figures highlight the important contribution small and medium-sized enterprises make to the Scottish economy. It is fantastic to see such a big increase in the number of businesses in Scotland over the last decade.

“This weekend’s Small Business Saturday offers an ideal opportunity to celebrate these businesses and the 1.2 million jobs they support across the country.”

Some would argue that the rise in the number of businesses is also a result of downsizing by larger companies. Many small firms are created by individuals made redundant or who take on operations spun-out by their employer.

Scotland also has fewer businesses compared to the rest of the UK. Reform Scotland calculated it has 750 business per 10,000 adults whereas the UK has more than 1,000.

FSB is urging people across Scotland to use Small Business Saturday to give their local small business community a boost. On Small Business Saturday last year, £812m was spent with small businesses across the UK.

Mr McRae, who owns the Harry Potter-themed Diagon House in Victoria Street, Edinburgh, said: “This Small Business Saturday we want to see Scottish high streets bustling with people choosing to spend their money with independent businesses.”

See also

Call to switch corporation tax powers to Holyrood

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