Number of Scots businesses at record high of 356,550

Scottish Enterprise HQ

The Businesses in Scotland 2019 report shows that as of March 2019 there were an estimated 356,550 private sector businesses, including micro businesses, operating in Scotland.

That’s the highest number since current records began in 2000.

Between March 2018 and March 2019, the estimated number of businesses increased by 2.8% or 9,755 businesses.

That increase was driven by a 4.3% (7,270) rise in the number of unregistered businesses (those not registered for VAT and/or PAYE), which increased from 170,500 in March, 2018 to 177,770 in March, 2019.

The number of registered businesses also increased during that period — up by 2,485 businesses (1.4%) from 176,295 to 178,780 — also the highest since current records began.

In the same period there were 354,125 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in Scotland, providing an estimated 1.2 million jobs.

SMEs accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses, 55.4% of private sector employment, and 41.5% of private sector turnover.

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 2019.

The estimates include businesses that operate in Scotland irrespective of whether their main UK base is in Scotland or elsewhere.