Technical and professional sector sees biggest boost of SME entrants

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New research reveals there are almost 40 per cent more legal services SMEs, architects and vets than in 2010.

Other sectors which have seen high levels of growth since 2010 are information and communication and business services. Looking at the UK as a whole, there has been a 17 per cent rise in the number of SMEs from 2010.

The study highlighted that despite a lower percentage of start-ups entering retail and construction, these sectors do have higher numbers of SMEs overall. However these two sectors attributed financial concerns as barriers to growth in their industries which may deter start-ups in the sectors. Nearly two in five retail and three in 10 construction companies said competition in the market was the biggest barrier to growth.

Sectors by level of growth:

Sector Level of Growth Fastest growing business size band
Technical & Professional 39% 0 to 4
Information & Communication 33% 0 to 4
Business Services 25% 0 to 4
Transport & Distribution 22% 0 to 4
Services 19% 100 to 249
Real Estate 17% 10 to 19
Hospitality 13% 20 to 49
Manufacturing 6% 0 to 4
Construction 4% 0 to 4
Retail 3% 10 to 19
National Average 17% 0 to 4


The sectors experiencing a higher number of start-ups correspond to those demonstrating a greater level of confidence when it comes to the long-term economic prospects of the industry they operate in – with three in five accountancy, IT and communication firms saying they feel optimistic.

Mark Sismey-Durrant, Chief Executive Officer at Hampshire Trust Bank, said: “Our report identifies the critical role of SMEs within the economy, particularly the many micro firms that are emerging in the UK.  It’s encouraging to see SMEs enter all sectors from 2010 – 15 and from our experience many are identifying opportunities for growth in the future. These figures should be seen as a source of optimism for the government in terms of providing employment and long-term economic prosperity for the years ahead.

“As the government prepares to set out plans for leaving the EU, I urge them to keep the spotlight on smaller companies by creating conditions and opportunities which will support the levels of growth our research has identified.”

Nina Skero, Managing Economist at CEBR, said: “This study is yet another indicator of how strong UK SMEs are and the vital role they play within the UK economy. It’s encouraging to see SMEs across various industries posting a strong performance. This further highlights how vital it is to nurture the optimism they are demonstrating if they are to continue driving economic growth.”