Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Australia’s economy, contributing significantly to employment, innovation, and economic growth. In this article, we will delve into the latest statistics of SMEs in Australia.


Definition of SMEs

In Australia, SMEs are defined as businesses with fewer than 200 employees. This category includes micro-enterprises (1-4 employees), small businesses (5-19 employees), and medium-sized businesses (20-199 employees).

SMEs play a crucial role in the economy, accounting for over 98% of all businesses, employing around 70% of the workforce and generate $500 billion of economic activity, constituting one-third of Australia’s GDP.

Number of SMEs in Australia




Number of SMEs


As of June 2023, there are approximately 2.5 million SMEs in Australia, representing a significant portion of the business landscape. These SMEs operate across a wide range of industries, including retail, hospitality, construction, and professional services.


Australia number of SMEs per Industry



Entries & Exits

In 2022-23 there was a:

  • 8% or 19,973 increase in the number of businesses.
  • 8% entry rate, with 406,365 entries
  • 0% exit rate, with 386,392 exits

Australia business entries and exits 2023


In 2022-23 the three industries with the largest percentage increase in businesses were:

  • Health Care and Social Assistance (an increase of 6.1% to 185,260 businesses)
  • Financial and Insurance Services (an increase of 2.7% to 123,266 businesses)
  • Transport, Postal, and Warehousing (an increase of 2.4% to 218,662 businesses)


Australia SMEs industry percentage changes

The industries with the largest percentage decrease in businesses in 2022-23 were:

  • Administrative and Support Services (decrease of 1.6% to 120,630 businesses)
  • Retail Trade (decrease of 1.4% to 155,755 businesses)



Business Turnover Indicator

In 2022-23:

  • 93% of businesses recorded turnovers below $2 million.
  • 7% of businesses had turnovers lower than $50,000.
  • Businesses with turnovers exceeding $2 million grew by 9.7% (18,480 businesses).
  • A significant number of surviving businesses moved into higher turnover brackets, with those having turnovers at or above $200,000 increasing by 53,271.
  • The turnover range of $10 million or more experienced the largest percentage increase, rising by 11.9%, primarily due to 7,017 businesses transitioning out of the turnover range of $5 million to less than $10 million.


Australia Business Turnover by size




SMEs contribute to about two-thirds of Australia’s workforce.   Health care, retail trade, professional services, and construction industries employ the greatest number of people.


Australia employment by size

Australia SMEs employment by sector


Australia Business Lending

Business lending in Australia saw a notable increase in 2022 and continued to rise in the initial months of 2023. By June 2023, outstanding finance to businesses had risen by nearly 9% compared to the previous year.

Australia Business Lending Landscape


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