Small business represents around 97 per cent of all businesses in Western Australia. They operate across a wide range of industries including manufacturing, business services, retail and transport.
According to the latest ABS Counts of Australian Businesses, as at June 2016 there were 2,171,607 small businesses nationwide, with 218,152 in WA.
Non-employing businesses at 140,054 continues to be the largest group of all WA businesses (62 per cent of all businesses).
WA's small businesses are distributed as follows *:
- Perth metropolitan area 75.4%
- South West 6.9%
- Wheatbelt 4.4%
- Peel 3.7%
- Great Southern 3.1%
WA businesses by number employed
In 2014-15 small business contributed $39.7BN to the economy; accounting for 19.7 per cent of WA's gross state product (GSP). If WA's small business sector was considered an industry, it would rank second only to mining ($64.4M) in terms of industry gross value added.
The $39.7BN is comprised as follows:
- Construcion 23.4%
- Mining 10.1%
- Professional, scientific and technical services 9.6%
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing 8.0%
Small businesses accounted for 23% of total wages and salaries.
37 per cent of Perth small businesses sell entirely within their own region, with a further 37 per cent limiting sales to within WA. Fewer than one in ten WA small busiensses export to international markets. 37.1 per cent of all exports (by value) are to Asia.
As at 2015, WA small businesses emply 512,000 people (41 per cent) of private sector employment.*
|Business size - number of employees||% of all businesses in WA||Number of businesses at June 2016||% change from 2015||Number of businesses at June 2015|
Value that small business adds to the WA economy
As at June 2016 industries with the largest number of small businesses in WA were:
- Construction - 41,502 small businesses (19% of all small business in WA)
- Professional Scientific and Technical services - 25,917 (11.9%)
- Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services - 23,827 (10.9%)
- Financial and Insurance Services - 20,190 (9.3%)
- Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing - 16,600 (7.6%)
Small businesses as a percentage of all businesses – by industry
|Industry||% that are small businesses|
|Accommodation and Food Services||88%|
|Administrative and Support Services||94%|
|Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing||98%|
|Arts and Recreation Services||96%|
|Education and Training||93%|
|Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services||91%|
|Financial and Insurance Services||99%|
|Health Care and Social Assistance||97%|
|Information Media and Telecommunications||97%|
|Professional, Scientific and Technical Services||98%|
|Public Administration and Safety||90%|
|Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services||99%|
|Transport, Postal and Warehousing||98%|
The ABS also reports on the survival rate of businesses, focussing on two types of business survival; the rate of those businesses that entered in the 2013-14 financial year, and the survival rates for businesses that were already operating as at June 2012.
|Business size (by number of employees)||Number of businesses that started in 2013-14||Number of businesses that survived to June 2016||Survival rate|
|Business size (by number of employees)||Number of businesses already operating in June 2012||Number of businesses that survived to June 2016||Survival rate|
Notes on statistics
- The SBDC uses the standard Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) definition of small business, which is any non-employing business or a business employing fewer than 20 people.
- These statistics are provided by the ABS except for data marked with * which has been sourced from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre May 2017 report The Engine room for Growth? The Role, Performance and Future Prospects of Small Business in Western Australia.
- As with any analysis based on data sets it is subject to a degree of error. Individual numbers or percentages should not be used as absolutes.