The number of active small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK reached a six-year high of 2.16 million in 2013, according to the National Association for Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB).
This means the UK now has the most SMEs in business since before the downturn after two successive years of growth.
SMEs that have done particularly well over the last couple of years are those working in the professional, scientific and technical industries.
But the picture is mixed on a regional level. While small business growth has been strong in England and Scotland, rising by 4.6% and 4.5% respectively over the last two years, Wales has experienced a mere 0.3% increase and in Northern Ireland the number of SMEs has fallen by 1.9%.
Commenting on the figures, NACFB's CEO Adam Tyler welcomed the Government's decision to focus its Funding for Lending Scheme on SMEs, saying it "should prompt greater volumes of business lending in 2014."
However, Mr Tyler pointed out that the uneven growth across the British Isles is a sign that more work needs to be done to support the "revival of small business fortunes."
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