It found that between 2010 and 2017, the number of registered businesses in Scotland’s rural areas increased by 8 per cent to 52,270, but in urban areas grew by 16 per cent to 125,545.
This is despite the population of rural Scotland having grown at a slightly faster rate than the country’s urban areas since 2011, the FSB added.
In a submission to the Scottish Government, FSB argued that boosting local firms and rural business start-rates should be a key priority for ministers and the wider public sector.
Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said the growth of rural start-up rates being half of urban “should give all of us pause for thought”. He added: “Without a diverse mix of local businesses, driven by a healthy business start-up rate, rural areas will face sluggish growth and struggle to retain and attract working-age people.”
The organisation also said rural Scottish small-to-medium sized businesses generate about £15 billion in turnover while sustaining more than two-thirds of countryside private sector jobs.
McRae said we must help our smaller firms thrive, and rural transport and digital infrastructure improved. “This should be a priority for Scottish policymakers in their pursuit of a more productive, innovative economy.”