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Invisible businesses : the characteristics of home-based businesses in the United Kingdom

Mason, Colin M. and Carter, Sara and Tagg, Stephen (2011) Invisible businesses : the characteristics of home-based businesses in the United Kingdom. Regional Studies, 45 (5). pp. 625-639. ISSN 0034-3404

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Home-based businesses comprise a significant proportion of the small business sector. But because they are invisible, their economic significance is assumed to be minor. This paper challenges this view. The majority are full-time businesses. One in ten has achieved significant scale. They create jobs for more than just the owner(s). They are concentrated in computer-related, business, and professional service sectors. They also have a distinctive geography. Rural areas and non-metropolitan parts of Southern England have the highest proportion of home-based businesses. Urban-industrial regions have the lowest proportion. This suggests a need to reconsider the role of home-based businesses in local economic development.