The number of businesses in Scotland has reached its highest level since records started 17 years ago.
Official figures show there were an estimated 365,600 private sector enterprises operating north of the border in March this year.
The total has increased by more than 52 per cent since 239,970 enterprises were recorded in 2000.
Ministers said the statistics show that Scotland’s business scene is “thriving”.
The figures reveal the estimated number of businesses rose by 3.1 per cent (11,110) between March last year and the same month this year.
The increase over the latest year was driven by a rise in the number of unregistered businesses from 180,500 to 189,200 over the 12-month period.
The number of VAT and PAYE registered businesses has also increased, up 1.4 per cent in a year to 176,400. This is similarly the highest figure since the records began.
Almost all (98.3 per cent) of the 365,600 enterprises were small, supporting up to 49 employees. Some 3,855 (1.1 per cent) were medium sized and 2,365 (0.6 per cent) were large, with 250 or more workers.
Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “These figures show Scotland’s business scene is thriving and the rise has been driven in particular by the success of our small business start-ups.
“But it is very encouraging to see the growth in the number of VAT registered businesses too.
“We’re committed to helping businesses to start up and grow and our Small Business Bonus Scheme is benefiting the occupiers of more than 100,000 properties this year by either eliminating or substantially reducing their business rates bill.
“The scheme has been significantly expanded this year, with half of all rateable properties across Scotland now paying no rates.”