As at March 2012, there were an estimated 341,360 private sector enterprises operating in Scotland - the highest estimate since 2000 (the earliest point in the time series) (see Chart 2).
Between 2000 and 2012, the total number of enterprises increased by an estimated 42.2% (101,385 enterprises). As shown in Chart 2 below this increase was driven by an increase in the smallest unregistered enterprises – the number of unregistered enterprises in Scotland has almost doubled since 2000 (up from 91,310 in 2000 to 181,775 in 2012). However, the number of registered enterprises increased between 2000 and 2012 also, from 148,665 to 159,580 - driven by an increase in the number of small (0 to 49 employees) registered enterprises.
Chart 2: Estimated number of private sector enterprises operating in Scotland, 2000 to 2012
Despite the recent challenging economic conditions, the estimated number of enterprises in Scotland has increased in each year since 2006. Between March 2011 and March 2012 the estimated number of enterprises increased by 9.9% (30,835 enterprises) – this is the highest annual increase in the series.
Unregistered enterprises (the smallest businesses that have an annual turnover below the VAT threshold of £73,000 and do not have employees) accounted for the majority of the rise in the total number of enterprises between 2011 and 2012. The number of unregistered enterprises increased from 156,155 in 2011 to 181,775 in 2012 – an increase of 25,620 micro businesses (16.4%).
After falling for the last two years, the number of registered enterprises (those registered for VAT and/or PAYE) increased by 3.4% (5,215 enterprises) between 2011 and 2012. The rise in registered enterprises over the latest year was driven by an increase in the number of small (0 to 49 employees) registered enterprises – up 3.5% (5,190 enterprises) between 2011 and 2012.
After falling in the previous year, the number of medium-sized (50 to 249 employees) enterprises increased between 2011 and 2012 to 3,635 enterprises – representing an increase of 10 enterprises since 2011 and an increase of 285 since 2000, but the 2012 estimate is still lower than the medium-sized enterprise peak level of 3,655 enterprises experienced in 2010.
After falling for the last two years, the number of large (250 or more employees) enterprises increased between 2011 and 2012 to 2,250 enterprises – an increase of 20 since 2011 and an increase of 5 since 2000, but the 2012 estimate is still lower than the large enterprise peak level of 2,345 enterprises experienced in 2001 and lower than the more recent high point of 2,315 large enterprises that were in operation in Scotland in 2009.
The total stock of private sector registered enterprises per 10,000 resident adults in Scotland is the basis of the Scottish Government National Indicator: “Increase the number of businesses”. The indicator will be updated in June 2013 when the 2012 mid-year population estimates, needed to form the ‘per 10,000 adults’ rate, will become available. Further information can be found at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/Performance/scotPerforms/indicator/businesses