The number of smaller businesses in the UK has reached a record 5.7 million, figures show.
The total is almost 200,000 more than a year ago and 2.2 million higher than in 2000, said the Business Department.
Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of the private sector, employing 16.1 million staff and the combined annual turnover of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was £1.9 trillion.
To celebrate the impact small firms have on the economy, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) urged people to support local companies on this weekend’s Small Business Saturday.
FSB chairman Mike Cherry said: “It’s the fifth year of Small Business Saturday, and it’s great the campaign has been so successful in highlighting and promoting the now record number of 5.7 million small businesses working hard across the UK.”