Small businesses contributed £1.9 trillion to the UK economy this year, according to new Government figures.
The latest business population statistics, released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, show that there are now a record 5.7 million smaller businesses in the UK. The figure is up by 197,000 from 2016 and represents an increase of 2.2 million since 2000.
The number of employing businesses has increased by 41,000 (up 3%) since 2016 and the number of non-employing businesses has gone up by 155,000 (up 4%). Total employment in SMEs is 16.1 million, accounting for 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.
However, a recent survey by ICM for the British Business Bank has found that the vast majority of Brits underestimate the scale of small firms in the UK. Small businesses make up 99.3% of the total UK business population. However, 98% of those surveyed underestimated this share; 81% said small businesses account for fewer than 60% of the UK's business population.
The contribution of small businesses to UK private sector turnover is also widely undervalued. The latest Government figures show that small firms generate more than 50% of the combined turnover generated by private sector businesses.
Keith Morgan, ceo of the British Business Bank, said: "We want to raise awareness of the incredible achievements of small businesses and reflect on their enormous contribution to our economy and society. They are 'small wonders' and we encourage the public and our partners to get involved in recognising their importance."
Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "Small firms are undoubtedly the unsung heroes of UK society. It's critical that we rally UK-wide support for small business owners and the self-employed."
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