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SME population hits six-year high

The number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK reached a six-year high of 2.16 million in 2013, according to the National Association for Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB).

The data reveals that 86,435 SMEs have been created in the past two years, increasing the SME population by 4.2 per cent. This follows the loss of 80,615 small businesses between 2008 and 2011.

The NACFB’s SME Growth Monitor also revealed that since 2011:

  • England is leading the SME revival with 4.6 per cent growth
  • SME growth outperforms large business growth by 0.9 per cent
  • Nine out of ten UK industries have seen SME growth
  • The professional, scientific and technical sector has seen the largest increase with 35,905 new businesses
  • The information and communication sector created 18,025 new SMEs.

Chief executive of the NACFB, Adam Tyler, said:

“SMEs are the stalwarts of the economic recovery: they have made the early running and played a vital role in brightening the UK’s future prospects.

“By fuelling activity in greater numbers across the majority of UK industries, they have helped rebuild a strong foundation for further growth. This not only opens up more jobs but also boosts those larger employers who count SMEs in their supply chain or rely on the essential services they provide.”

Elsewhere, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that optimism among its members has increased for the fourth consecutive quarter, with businesses across all sectors and all regions looking to 2014 with confidence.

The FSB’s national chairman, John Allan, said:

“Confidence has been in positive territory for a full year, giving economic growth solid foundations moving into 2014. Small firms are creating more jobs and investing in their business and there are encouraging results behind the headline figures, with promising trends evident across the main areas of expansion, investment and employment.”