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Bibby Financial Services released a report in spring 2014 entitled Livelihood businesses in the UK, you can now download the report here. In this blogpost we intend to look back to the early part of the year and examine some of the findings relating micro-businesses.

According to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), in 2013, there were 4.9 million private businesses in the UK – a rise of 102,000 year-on-year – with SMEs accounting for 99.9 per cent of private sector businesses, employing an estimated 14.4 million. The number of businesses in the UK is undoubtedly rising and with it, the importance of their contribution to local and national economies.

The rise of the micro-enterprise

In 2009, Dragons’ Den investor Duncan Bannatyne wrote in The Telegraph: “You might think that the recession is the worst time to launch a new venture but in my view there has never been a better time to start.” It seems that as we near the end of 2014 his words have been borne out by many small business owners who often started trading in the midst of the recession.

Our report from spring 2014 found that many entrepreneurs have sought opportunities in the wake of the economic downturn, identifying ‘recession proof’ markets or even those which are driven by negative or flat growth.

These are often those involved in the manufacture or sale of goods but they can also be enterprises which offer cost and time saving efficiencies to larger organisations, such as specialist consultancies or temporary recruitment businesses, for example.

The livelihood business

Our report from spring 2014 looked at livelihood businesses and point out that while owners are often represented as young; technologically savvy (typically) males with a social media presence and an undying thirst for success, beyond a nice house and a mid-range saloon.

But there are a growing number of businesses in the UK which exist only to provide employment and wages to their owners and the small number of people they employ (often other family members or friends).

They are more traditional in their use of technology and new media but nevertheless play a pivotal role in local and national communities. These businesses include bakeries, locksmiths, specialist retailers, florists, business consultants, small logistics companies and sub-contractors working within the construction sector.

It is not to suggest that these businesses have no desire to grow – as many of them do – however, owners often take a more practical approach to their business aspirations and perhaps more importantly, see the requirement to provide a living as the main driver, rather than a desire to build a business lasting beyond their own retirement.

Download the report

Please download the report for more information. On the Bibby Financial Services Blog we’ll be looking back at more findings from the report over the coming weeks so remember to keep checking back to see if our findings proved relevant for the rest of 2014 and beyond.

Contact Bibby Financial Services

As the UK’s leading independent invoice finance specialist and a trusted provider of cashflow funding to over 7,000 businesses, Bibby Financial Services provides a range of finance solutions for businesses in over 300 industry sectors. For more information about Bibby Financial Services’ cashflow solutions, visit: or call 0800 91 95 92.