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The number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK has risen by one million in the last five years, making up 99.9% of private sector businesses in Britian.

New statistics released by the Department for Businesses, Energy and Industrial Strategy shows that UK businesses are more plentiful than ever, as the number of businesses hits a record 5.5 million.

The Business Population Estimates report also found there are now 4,000 more medium-sized business and 900 more large business, a total increase of 23% from 2010.

Greg Clark, business and energy secretary said: “Britain’s businesses are the heroes of our economic revival and it is great to see the number of businesses rise by over a million since 2010.

“Our job creators don’t always get the praise and respect they deserve but we should be proud of our entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators. The government is committed to ensuring Britain builds on its success and is the best place to start and grow a business.”

SMEs currently account for three fifths of employment in the UK private sector, comprising 15.7 million employees, compared to 10.5 million in large business, according to the deparment.

Claire Ward, HR expert and founder of the HR Hub said that SMEs need to invest in developing leaders from within if they want to thrive and grow further.

She added: “We have seen businesses run into problems because they have failed to invest in leadership and management training until it’s too late. Just because someone is good technically at their role, does not mean they have developed great leadership skills. This takes time, practice and a supportive culture which allows mistakes.”

“One of the biggest challenges for SMEs as they take on more staff is to develop effective internal communications. This is particularly important to employees who often join start-ups because they have easy access to the leadership team and a flat structure.

"Businesses need to find ways of making employees continue to feel “loved” and part of the company’s future. This makes good business sense – in the UK “engaged” employees have been shown to be 22% more productive than their “non-engaged” colleagues.”