The number of smaller firms has reached a six-year high of more than two million, according to new research.
More than 80,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) went out of business between 2008 and 2011 during the recession, but the total has increased by 86,000 since then.
The National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) said the biggest growth has been in England, while small business numbers barely increased in Wales and fell in Northern Ireland.
Professional, scientific and technical industries have seen the biggest increase in SMEs , followed by information and communication, health, property, agriculture, education and manufacturing, said the report.
Adam Tyler, chief executive of the NACFB, said: “Uneven growth across the British Isles still shows more work needs to be done to support the revival of small business fortunes. SMEs in England and Scotland have benefited from innovative business lending, which has increased the mix of commercial finance available to entrepreneurs.
He added: “Commercial brokers can often unlock new routes to funding on a local level, and a renewed commitment from lenders in Wales and Northern Ireland can satisfy regional appetite for investment to kick-start their SME recovery.”
Meanwhile, UK private equity house, Endless LLP, announced the launch of a £10 million fund specifically targeted at SMEs under a new brand, Enact (‘the Fund’). The Fund has sourced its capital from high net worth and professional investors and is structured to benefit from the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) giving investors access to attractive benefits such as 30% income tax relief and capital gains tax relief.
Whilst Endless has invested in SME’s before, this fund is the first Endless Fund to be targeting smaller companies of 250 employees or less.
Garry Wilson, Managing Partner of Endless, said: “We are very excited about extending our reach to finding the hidden gems of the smaller business market.’’