Businesses in Scotland: 2022

Information on the number of businesses (also known as enterprises) operating in Scotland.

This publication provides an estimate of the number of businesses operating in Scotland. ‘Businesses in Scotland’ breaks down the Scottish business stock by business size and industry sector. There are also statistics by country of ownership, local authority area and urban/rural area.

The total number of businesses operating in Scotland includes registered and unregistered businesses. Registered businesses are businesses that are registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and/or Pay As You Earn (PAYE). Unregistered businesses are registered neither for VAT nor for PAYE. Unregistered businesses are the smallest businesses that have a turnover below the VAT threshold (£85,000) and do not employ others.    

Headline results

  • as at March 2022, an estimated 360,910 private sector businesses were operating in Scotland
  • between March 2021 and March 2022, the estimated number of businesses increased by 5.2%
  • the number of unregistered businesses increased by 12.0% over the latest year. This increase drove the rise in the total number of private sector businesses
  • the number of registered businesses decreased by 1.1% over the latest year. This was driven by a decrease in the smallest registered businesses that do not employ others – particularly those in the ‘Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities’ and ‘Information & Communication’ industry sectors
  • the number of employers increased by 1.1% over the latest year
  • as at March 2022, there were 358,575 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) operating in Scotland. SMEs provided an estimated 1.2 million jobs, which was 55.9% of private sector employment. SMEs accounted for 99.4% of all private sector businesses and 40.2% of private sector turnover as at March 2022


For enquiries about this publication please contact:

Marina Curran

Business & Innovation Statistics

Office of the Chief Economic Adviser

e-mail: or


For general enquiries about Scottish Government statistics please contact:

Office of the Chief Statistician

Telephone: 0131 244 0442



Back to top