Reports shows 346,000 private businesses in Scotland

There were an estimated 345,915 private sector businesses operating in Scotland as at March 2018 — representing a decrease of 8,830 businesses since March 2017 — according to the Businesses in Scotland 2018 report from Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

The decrease over the latest year was driven by a fall in the number of unregistered businesses — those not registered for VAT and/or PAYE.

The number of unregistered businesses decreased from 178,340 in 2017 to 169,620 in 2018 – a decrease of 8,720 unregistered businesses.

Unregistered enterprises are micro businesses which consist of only a sole trader or partners.

Unregistered enterprises do not employ others and have an annual turnover below the VAT threshold — £85,000 as at March 2018.

The number of employers increased by 915 (0.9%) over the latest year, from 107,465 employers in 2017 to 108,380 employers in 2018.

There are now more private sector employers operating in Scotland than at any other time in the series, which goes back to 2000.

“As at March 2018, there were 343,535 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in Scotland, providing an estimated 1.2 million jobs,” said the report.

“SMEs accounted for 99.3 per cent of all private sector businesses in 2018, accounting for 54.9 per cent of private sector employment and 41.5 per cent of private sector turnover.”

The full statistical publication is available at:

Further information on Business and Enterprise statistics within Scotland can be accessed at: