As at March 2013, there were an estimated 343,105 private sector enterprises operating in Scotland - the highest figure since the series began (in 2000).
Between 2000 and 2013, the total number of enterprises increased by an estimated 43.0% (103,140 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 more than doubled since 2000 (up from 91,310 in 2000 to 183,055 in 2013). However, the number of registered enterprises increased between 2000 and 2013 also, from 148,665 to 160,050 (a 7.7% increase) - 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 2013
Although economic conditions continue to be difficult, the estimated number of enterprises in Scotland has increased in each year since 2006. Between March 2012 and March 2013 the estimated number of enterprises increased by 0.5% (1,745 enterprises).
Unregistered enterprises (the smallest businesses that have an annual turnover below the VAT threshold of £77,000 and do not have employees) accounted for the majority of the rise in the total number of enterprises between 2012 and 2013. The number of unregistered enterprises increased from 181,775 in 2012 to 183,055 in 2013 – an increase of 1,280 micro businesses (0.7%).
Having fallen between 2009 and 2011, the number of registered enterprises (those registered for VAT and/or PAYE) increased by 0.3% (470 enterprises) between 2012 and 2013, the second increase in successive years. 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 0.2% (385 enterprises) between 2012 and 2013.
The number of medium-sized (50 to 249 employees) enterprises increased between 2012 and 2013 to 3,705 enterprises – representing an increase of 70 enterprises since 2012. There has been an increase of 355 enterprises since 2000 and the 2013 estimate is now higher than at any time since then.
The number of large (250 or more employees) enterprises also increased, to 2,270, between 2012 and 2013 – an increase of 20 since 2012 and an increase of 25 since 2000. The 2013 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 2014 when the 2013 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