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Mid-sized businesses in Scotland 2010-17


Mid-sized businesses (MSBs) are commonly defined as businesses with a turnover of between £25m and £500m. These businesses have been shown to be more productive, and have performed better in recent years than both small and large businesses. This research note provides an overview of Scotland’s mid-sized market and highlights trends in the market since 2010.


The methodology consisted of analysis of Scottish Government data to consider the changes in Scotland’s mid-market since 2010.


Whilst only being 0.6% of the total business base in Scotland, the analysis found that MSBs generate £65bn of total turnover in Scotland, 28% of private industry turnover and employ 16% of the current workforce. Since 2010, the MSB market has experienced growth of 11% in total MSBs, 12% in turnover and 4% in employment. Growth in the number of Scotland’s MSBs was found to have been primarily driven by overseas owned MSBs, which as a share of the total number, turnover and employment has increased since 2010. The growth seen in MSBs and mid-market in 2010-17 has, manufacturing aside, been driven by traditionally low productivity industries the public sector does not support (though there are indications these industries may have improved their productivity). The evidence suggests Scottish-owned MSBs are becoming smaller, a trend that has accelerated since 2015. This corroborates other evidence that suggests high-growth firms (HGFs) are also decreasing in size. Although Scottish-owned MSBs have grown in number and their total turnover, they have seen a decline of over 6,000 in employment, which may suggest a focus amongst the Scottish MSB base on productivity. It is suggested that the focus for economic growth should be on stimulating more high-growth firms through creating the right conditions for business growth and entrepreneurship, allowing the creation of more Scottish-owned MSBs through the Scaling service which has demonstrated its ability to transform high-growth and high-growth potential firms into scaling MSBs.


No recommendations were made.

Author Scottish Enterprise
Published Year 2018
Report Type Research
  • Enterprise
    Entrepreneurship/new firm formation, High growth entrepreneurship