How micro businesses are showing the way

The UK’s entrepreneurial spirit appears stronger than ever, as new data shows that the number of micro businesses has grown every year in the past decade. Small businesses – those with under ten people – are bucking a trend in which the UK’s medium and large business population has stalled in recent years.

Overall, the number of medium and large businesses in the UK plateaued in 2022. But the number of micro and small businesses in the UK grew to 1.4 million in 2022 – up 31,000 on the previous year. Growth in the number of medium and large businesses has yet to return to the highest levels seen in 2020, according to the analysis by Mastercard and Opinium.

“There’s no shortage of entrepreneurial ambition in the UK, but it’s worrying that their optimism lags behind big businesses. If we’re to boost growth, it’s vital that big business and government support small companies with skills, funding and policy so they can reach their potential.”

Businesswoman and activist Mary Portas described small businesses as “the lifeblood of our economy”. She added: “They’re innovative, creative, resilient, and despite the fact it’s one of the most challenging times to be a small business owner, their numbers are growing. People’s desire and appetite for what they do has also never been greater.

“Yes. We know it continues to be an unpredictable world right now. But when you’re small and nimble it’s an opportunity to out manoeuvre the bigger players. Small business owners never fail to inspire me with their desire to do better, learn and flex themselves in the ever-evolving landscape of today’s business.”

And Shadow Minister for Business and Industry, Bill Esterson, who recently attended Thrive Street, a business support initiative in Manchester’s Arndale Centre,  said it was fitting that, as the first industrial city, Manchester is now home to so many start-ups. The initiative is part of Mastercard’s Strive UK programme