More than 20,000 UK micro-businesses generate turnovers of more than £1 million

There are now more than two million micro-businesses in the UK and more than 20,000 of them generate turnover in excess of £1 million, according to a new report.

The study, by Direct Line for Business, described the UK as a hotbed for micro-businesses and concluded that success is not necessarily linked to size.

In 2015, there were approximately 2.17 million micro-businesses active in the UK. 23,500 had turnovers of more than £1 million and the average turnover was £286,879. Micro-businesses are generally defined as those employing fewer than 10 people.

The figures show, according to Direct Line for Business, that the UK is a nation of entrepreneurs. Micro-businesses account for 89% of all businesses across the UK and make a huge contribution to the UK economy.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London and the South East of England have the highest proportional numbers of micro-businesses within the UK. In 2015, London had 400,000 businesses of this type, accounting for almost a fifth (18.4%) of the UK total. This worked out to 47 micro-businesses for every 1,000 members of the population.

The South East had 337,785 micro-businesses active in 2015. This was 15.5% of the UK total and represents 38 micro-businesses for every 1,000 people. It means that London and the South East together account for more than a third of the country’s total number of micro-businesses.

Northern Ireland and the North East of England were found to have the smallest numbers of micro-businesses. Northern Ireland had 59,600 micro-businesses active in 2015 and the North East had 57,050.

Many micro-businesses are proving to be great success stories but there is always a risk in starting a new business of any kind and many end up facing insolvency or liquidation measures. The most recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that there were 246,000 business deaths in 2014, representing 9.6% of all businesses that were active that year. More than half of new businesses failed to survive beyond five years, but despite the risks there were still more start-ups recorded last year than ever before in the UK.

By Phil Smith

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