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One-in-30 Britons could be running a small business

A new survey by Direct Line for Business has shone light on the huge number of micro-businesses operating in the UK. There are currently 2.17 million micro-businesses – companies with fewer than nine employees – working throughout Britain.

The south-east of England and London are the major hotbeds for this unique type of company, with more than 700,000 of Britain’s micro-businesses located in these areas. The East of England is also enjoying an increase in the number of small businesses operating within the region.

The potential for micro-businesses to succeed is substantial. Though one in five micro-businesses operate on a turnover of less than £50,000, more than 23,500 of Britain’s smallest companies boast turnovers of over £1 million. Indeed, the average turnover for a UK micro-business is currently £286,879. The difference between this and the average turnover for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) isn’t as big as you might think: SMEs currently average £703,419.

It will be unsurprising to many people that London is still the true hub of micro-business, with more than 400,000 such firms operating in the capital: 18% of the total in the UK.  The more impressive statistic is that this figure works out at 47 micro-businesses per thousand people in the capital, the highest ratio in the UK by some distance.

The south-east boasts 337,385 micro-businesses, with the East of England the third highest at 216,700. In these areas, there are 38 and 36 micro-businesses for every 1,000 people respectively.

The study serves to highlight Britain’s place as a true nation of entrepreneurs. Nick Breton, head of Direct Line for Business, says the study shows that overall there are nearly 34 micro-businesses for every 1,000 people in the UK.

Mr Breton said: “These enterprises account for 89% of all companies across the UK which is a huge contribution to the business economy.

“It is unsurprising to see that London and the South East account for more than a third of the nation’s micro-businesses, as families in these areas are often seeking to gain extra sources of income by turning their hobbies into professions.”

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