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Small Business Numbers Hit A 6-Year High, Figures Show

National Association For Commercial Finance Brokers Highlights Increase In SME Activity


Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

The number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in the UK has risen to a six-year high.

A new report published by the National Association for Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) highlighted a 4.2 per cent upturn in small business registrations in the past two years.

This compared with a 3.3 per cent increase in large corporations trading in Britain over the same period.

According to the study, this growth has helped to offset the loss of more than 80,600 businesses between 2008 and 2011, when the country was in the midst of a recession.

Adam Tyler, chief executive at NACFB, said SMEs are the "stalwarts of the economic recovery" and they have played a crucial role in the recent expansion of gross domestic product.

However, he added that small organisations in certain parts of Britain are faring better than others.

Figures revealed England is leading the way, with the number of SMEs growing by 4.6 per cent since 2011, while Scotland is not far behind (4.5 per cent increase).

Wales and Northern Ireland have both struggled by comparison, with growth in the former being restricted to a modest 0.3 per cent and the latter reported a 1.9 per cent downturn in small business activity over the two-year period.

"Uneven growth across the British Isles still shows more work needs to be done to support the revival of small business fortunes," Mr Tyler commented.

"SMEs in England and Scotland have benefitted from innovative business lending which has increased the mix of commercial finance available to entrepreneurs."

The NACFB report was released shortly before new research by the Federation of Small Businesses was published, which confirmed companies are feeling increasingly optimistic heading into 2014. It showed the number of firms that have had credit applications rejected in the fourth quarter of 2013 was at its joint lowest point since the start of 2012.

That said, there are still plenty of startups that do not realise how many funding opportunities are available to them and this could restrict their growth.

Expert Opinion
Another day goes by and another new report appears which reflects that the current economic conditions are ideal for entrepreneurs and start-ups which are looking to develop their latest innovative ideas and launch small businesses.

"The increase seen in the number of smaller firms is unsurprising and it highlights the general view that SMEs have a key role to play in the continued improvement being seen across the economy.

"Establishing such operations is of course incredibly hard work and a key part of creating and then maintaining a business is having the right business support to hand. One particularly vital part of this is access to quality legal advice to help on key issues such as commercial property, employment and corporate finance concerns.

"We would urge anyone in the process of launching or developing a business to ensure they have the right tools at their disposal to really make strides forward over the coming months and years."
Steven Beahan, Partner