About NSW Small Businesses

The NSW small business landscape at a glance

Small businesses play a vital role in NSW. They are critical cogs in our thriving economy and they contribute so much to our diverse local communities. A small business is defined as an actively trading, unincorporated or incorporated business that employs less than 20 people. This information is based on the latest available data from the ABS.

Shopfront
850,000

Small businesses in NSW

Comprising 97% of all NSW businesses (ABS, 8165.0, June 2023 – latest available).

People with briefcase
1.7M

People Employed

By NSW small businesses in the private sector, which is around 43% of the State’s private sector workforce (estimated from ABS, 8155.0, 2021-22 – latest available).

Calendar with currency
$66.6B

Annual Wages and Salaries

Paid by NSW small businesses to employees every year (estimated from ABS, 8155.0, 2021-22 – latest available).

Ascending line graph
$465.3B

Annual Sales and Service Income

Contributed by NSW small businesses (estimated from ABS, 8155.0, 2021-22 – latest available).

Male figure
66%

Male

Approximately 66% of NSW small business owners are male (ABS, Census 2021, latest available).

Female figure
34%

Female

Approximately 34% of NSW small business owners are female. Female involvement is significantly understated, with many acting in key advisory and support roles in the running of family businesses (ABS, Census 2021, latest available).

Sydney Opera House with dotted line leading to person
30%

Living outside the Sydney Greater Metropolitan Region

Approximately 30% of small business operators live outside the Sydney Greater Metropolitan Region (ABS, 8165.0, June 2023 – latest available).

Earth with aeroplane
35%

Operators Born Overseas

Small business operators that were born overseas (ABS, Census 2021, latest available).

Age of small business owners in NSW

(ABS, Census 2021, latest available).

25.3%

50 - 59 years of age

25.2%

40 - 49 years of age

21.6%

Over 60 years of age

20.2%

30 - 39 years of age

7.7%

Under 30 years of age

Top 5

Industries by business counts (0-19 employees).

17.4%

Construction

14.1%

Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

11.5%

Rental, Hiring & Real Estate Services

7.8%

Transport, Postal & Warehousing

7.0%

Health Care and Social Assistance

Every small business has a unique story

We talk to small business owners and operators about how they got started, the obstacles they overcame and the lessons they learned.