Procurement · 8 June 2016

London the epicentre of UK’s micro business boom

London 2
London is the fastest growing micro business hub with 400,000 firms with under ten staff

There are now nearly 34 micro businesses for every 1,000 people in Britain, with London and the South East of England accounting for nearly a third.

A new study from Direct Line has uncovered the scale of the country’s micro business revolution, as the number of companies with less than ten employees now amounts to 2.17m and represents 89 per cent of all businesses.

London is the fastest growing micro business hub, with 400,000 currently operating, whilst the South East of England contains 337,385 in total.

Proving that size isn’t everything, the analysis also showed that there are 23,500 micro businesses with a turnover of more than £1m, with the average turnover of UK micro firms standing at £286,879, compared with an average turnover of SMEs of £703,419.

The East of England is also proving to be one of Britain’s fastest growing micro business hotspots, with 216,700 firms – ten per cent of the total. The least entrepreneurial region revealed by the data was the North East of England, where just over 57,000 micro businesses currently operate.

Direct Line for business head Nick Breton said that the findings of the study were encouraging yet not entirely unexpected. He said: “These figures show that Britain has become a nation of entrepreneurs.

“It is unsurprising to see that London and the South East of England 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.”

With London increasingly the focus of the UK’s micro business revolution, new London mayor Sadiq Khan has promised to protect existing working spaces and increase the number of affordable offices for the capital’s smallest new ventures.

In a City Hall announcement earlier this month, Khan spoke of the renewed importance of putting in place strong protection for micro business working spaces. “Over the next four years, I will be working to increase the good quality space available for small business, startups and entrepreneurs,” he said.

Khan added: “Of course we need new homes too, but this does not need to be at the expense of the space we need for the businesses that provide our jobs and drive our prosperity.”

Late last year, Business Advice discovered that micro businesses started in London were more likely to thrive than in other major European cities. Between January 2014 and July 2015, the UK capital saw more entrepreneurs start a business than in rival cities like Berlin and Paris. Just 0.39 per cent of London-based micro firms failed, compared with 2.95 per cent of those in Paris and 0.7 per cent in Berlin.

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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