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

Colin M. Mason, Sara Carter, Stephen Tagg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)
222 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-639
Number of pages15
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number5
Early online date1 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


  • home working
  • home-based business
  • small business
  • rural economy
  • urban economy
  • local economic development
  • development
  • invisible businesses


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