Number of small businesses hits a record high

Number of small businesses hits a record high

The number of small businesses in the UK has reached a record high of 5.7 million, according to new Government figures.

Combined, these businesses have contributed a whopping £1.9tn to the economy this year alone.

The figures were released ahead of Small Business Saturday, a campaign set up to support independent businesses.

The campaign, now in its fifth year, shines a light on the diverse range of small firms across the country.

Research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-size business, 63% is re-spent in the local area- compared to 40p in every £1 spent with a chain or larger business.

Last year, customers spent £717m with UK small businesses on Small Business Saturday, an increase of 15% on 2015 spending. And of course, the campaign is not just about retail. Small companies play a huge role throughout the supply chain and in every single sector of the economy.

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said: “It’s the fifth year of Small Business Saturday, and it’s great the campaign has been so successful in highlighting and promoting the now record number of 5.7 million small businesses working hard across the UK.

“Many of them are facing mounting pressure, with a record proportion of business owners currently expecting to downsize, sell or shut up shop.

“Of course, it’s important to support these businesses throughout the year and, particularly as the festive season draws closer, Small Business Saturday is a great way to encourage shoppers to back their local small firms.

“There’s been a great build up to the day so far with daily celebrations of the Small Biz 100, which included many of our members. FSB has long supported the initiative and the important work it does to highlight the hard-working small businesses, and we hope even more people get behind the event this year.”

Director of Small Business Saturday, Michelle Ovens, said: “Small Business Saturday has become the biggest celebration of small businesses across the UK. This Saturday will be a huge opportunity for communities to show their support for these businesses that play such a critical role.

“Our research shows over 90% of small businesses believe they have an important role to play in their community - so let's make sure we have their backs this weekend.

"FSB members up and down the UK have supported Small Business Saturday since year one. The support has been incredibly important, bringing local engagement, expertise and endless enthusiasm to the campaign - a huge thanks to FSB for being part of the team."

The figures were also commended by the British Business Bank, the state-owned economic development bank. Commenting on the new business population statistics Keith Morgan, CEO, said: “It is encouraging to see today’s figures showing a rise in the UK’s business population to 5.7 million, and it’s important to acknowledge the contribution small businesses – which make up 99% of this total.

"Recent polling, conducted by the British Business Bank for our #SmallBizWonders campaign revealed, however, that people consistently underappreciate the contribution small businesses make, with 98% of underestimating the proportion of small businesses in the UK business population and four in five vastly undervaluing the contribution they make to UK private sector turnover.

“We want to raise awareness of the incredible achievements of small businesses – many of whom we support through our Start Up Loans programme - and reflect on their enormous contribution to our economy and society. They are Small Wonders and we encourage the public and our partners to recognise their importance as we approach Small Business Saturday.”

Published: 01 December 2017

Article by Bryce Wilcock
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