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For more information on this release:
E-mail: busreg@cso.ie Barry Sobey (+353) 21 453 5355 Liam O'Flaherty (+353) 21 453 5245
For general information on CSO statistics:
information@cso.ie (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-6402
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Business Demography

2016

 2008201420152016% Change 2008- 2016% Change 2015- 2016
Number of enterprises244,195238,249248,843250,0332.4%0.5%
Persons engaged1,511,9201,334,2911,402,9811,478,236-2.2%5.4%
Enterprise births15,44416,25618,10019,24924.6%6.3%
Enterprise deaths19,15715,33719,355*   
*The enterprise deaths figure for 2015 is an estimate as a 2nd year of inactivity is necessary to be counted as a final death (see Background Notes).

Number of enterprises up 0.5% in 2016

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This release provides data on the "Business Demography" of Ireland for reference year 2016 and earlier years.

The detailed tables provided with this release present a breakdown of the numbers of active enterprises and newly birthed and ceased enterprises, classified by economic activity, employment size and legal form.

Related employment numbers are also outlined.

A detailed county level breakdown is also provided in relation to active enterprises and employment only.

Note: Due to an administrative error, the enterprise death figures for 2014 in Figure 10 were preliminary as opposed to final. This has been corrected as of 14:30 on 24/10/2018.

 

Annual changes and sectoral comparison

There were over 250,000 active enterprises in the private business economy1 in Ireland in 2016, with nearly 1.5 million persons engaged2. This represents an increase of 0.5% and 5.4% respectively from 2015. See summary table. The Services sector3 accounted for over half (51.1%) of all enterprises in 2016, with the Construction sector accounting for just over a fifth (20.6%). In 2008 the Services sector accounted for less than half (46.8%) while the Construction sector accounted for over a quarter (25.4%) of all enterprises. See figures 2 & 3 and summary table.

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Percentage of Enterprises by Sector 2016
Services51.1
Distribution18.7
Industry7
Construction20.6
Financial Service Activities2.6

When comparing the contribution to total persons engaged between 2008 and 2016, we see that the Services sector accounted for 45.1% of all persons engaged in 2016, up from 40.1% in 2008. The Construction sector accounted for 8.1% of all persons engaged in 2016, down from 12.6% in 2008. Of the remaining three sectors Distribution dropped slightly and Industry and Financial Service Activities remained relatively stable in this period. See figures 4 & 5.

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Percentage of Enterprises by Sector 2008
Services46.8
Distribution18.9
Industry6.5
Construction25.4
Financial Service Activities2.4
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Distribution of Persons Engaged by Sector 2016
Services45.1
Distribution24.1
Industry15.9
Construction8.1
Financial Service Activities6.7

Size class composition of the business economy

Small and medium sized enterprises4 accounted for 99.8% of the total enterprise population for 2016. They also accounted for 68.4% of total persons engaged, with large enterprises (employing 250 or more persons) employing 31.6% of persons engaged, despite accounting for only a small fraction (0.2%) of total enterprise numbers. See figure 6.

In 2008, small and medium sized enterprises accounted for 99.8% of the total enterprise population while accounting for a higher percentage (71.1%) of total persons engaged than in 2016. Large enterprises in 2008 accounted for 0.2% of all enterprises while employing 28.9% of persons engaged. See figure 7.

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Distribution of Persons Engaged by Sector 2008
Services40.1
Distribution24.8
Industry15.9
Construction12.6
Financial Service Activities6.6
EnterprisesPersons Engaged
Under 1091.826.57
10-496.7622.16
50-2491.2019.66
250 and over0.2331.61
EnterprisesPersons Engaged
Under 1090.9328.11
10-497.6323.67
50-2491.2319.33
250 and over0.2128.89

Enterprise births and deaths

This Business Demography release relates to reference year 2016. However, data on enterprise deaths5 are available up to reference year 2015 only, due to the fact that two complete sets of yearly data are required for an enterprise to be declared a final enterprise death. All enterprise births6 were followed for 5 years (2011 to 2015) to assess their survival rate and the resulting effect on employment.

Almost 31% of all enterprises that were active during 2016 began trading in the period 2011 - 2015 inclusive.

The one year survival rate (relating to enterprises born in one year and still active in the next year) decreased from 2011 to 2015 from 90.4% in 2011 to 83.6% in 2015, and shows almost 84% of enterprises created in 2015 were still active in 2016.

Of the 14,344 enterprises birthed in 2011, 9,535 or 66.5% survived to reference year 2016. See figure 8.

2011 births2012 births2013 births2014 births2015 births
Year of birth1434415080138251625618100
Survived 1 year1297013256117081395215133
Survived 2 years11943116921093812685
Survived 3 years107201093110141
Survived 4 years1015710135
Survived 5 years9535

There were 19,249 new enterprise births in 2016, an increase of over 6% on 2015. There were 24,383 persons engaged in these newly birthed enterprises. There were less enterprise births in 2008 (15,444) and a lower number of persons engaged (22,873) in these newly birthed enterprises.

The largest numerical increase in the number of births was in the Services sector which increased by 411 from 9,572 in 2015 to 9,983 in 2016. This figure of 9,983 represented the highest number of births recorded for the Services sector in the period 2008 to 2016 (surpassing the figure of 9,646 recorded in 2009).

The Industry sector experienced the highest percentage increase (12.2%) between 2015 and 2016.

Of the remaining three sectors Construction and Distribution experienced an increase and Financial experienced a decrease in the number of births between 2015 and 2016. See Figure 9

IndustryServicesConstructionDistributionFinancialTotal
200873283793443245343715444
200997096463573275889817845
201077877102467255244813955
201189577912589268338514343
201292681752757270451915081
201396874412473230463913825
2014111087343526246841816256
2015118595724226257354418100
2016132999834623284846619249

Over 19,000 enterprises ceased during 20157, resulting in a loss of over 23,488 persons engaged. This represented 26.2% more enterprise deaths than 2014.

Enterprise death figures for 2015 are estimated as an enterprise needs two full years of inactivity before being declared a final death.

The number of enterprise deaths increased across all sectors in 2015. In 2015, the Services sector had the highest number of enterprise deaths with 10,220 enterprises ceasing activity or 52.8% of total deaths. The Construction and Distribution sectors were also responsible for a large proportion of total deaths, with 4,218 and 3,034 enterprise deaths or 21.8% and 15.7% of overall deaths respectively.

The total number of enterprise deaths increased slightly by 1% in the period 2008 to 2015, with the number of enterprise deaths in the Construction sector falling by 43.9% in the same period. See figure 10. 

IndustryServicesConstructionDistributionFinancialTotal
200892875657518284829819157
2009105885476146303945219242
201096380664697285743917022
201187473633786277138315177
201295781443584295256216199
2013106093193803321788718286
201489782573019266250215337
20151139102204218303474419355

As can be seen from figure 11, there were 24,383 persons engaged in enterprise births in 2016. This represents the highest recorded number of persons engaged in enterprise births since the Business Demography series first began. The Services sector accounted for 56.0% (13,659) of the total, followed by the Construction sector which accounted for 21.3% (5,186). From 2015 to 2016 the number of persons engaged in enterprise births increased across all sectors bar the Industry sector, which experienced a slight decrease.

IndustryServicesConstructionDistributionFinancialTotal
20082101122754009406941922873
20091280105892749315531718090
2010711103082432320630416961
201199494742679335229416793
20122071101052817290271118606
201391092502497333851016505
20141276111563663285043719382
20151704132104376333345023073
20161571136595186341055724383
http://3.1.2.157/terminalfour/SiteManager?ctfn=content&fnno=30&sid=21948&svi=hierarchy:false:20&cid=132967&cVer=0.25#

As can be seen from figure 12, there were 23,488 persons engaged in enterprise deaths in 2015. The Services sector accounted for 52.5% (12,342) of these, followed by the Distribution sector which accounted for 18.6% (4,378). There was an increase in the total number of persons engaged in enterprise deaths from 2014 (22,583) to 2015 (23,488). The total number of persons engaged in enterprise deaths in 2015 was over 32% lower than the level experienced in 2008. 

IndustryServicesConstructionDistributionFinancialTotal
200822841358612457604433834709
20092049128577668547535828407
201012821107853724708125023690
20111277105044080453735120749
20121399106733508455533120466
20131227131113544454842722857
20141169136153141412753122583
20151624123424182437896223488

International Comparison

In EU terms8 (latest data available is for 2015), Ireland’s largest sector of active enterprises, the Services sector, at 51% of total enterprises, is higher than the EU average (47%) but lower than the Netherlands (55%), and the UK (59%) as well as five other Member States. The Services sector is also the UK's largest sector of active enterprises. In 2015, Ireland had the largest percentage share of active enterprises in the EU for the Construction sector at 20%. This compares to 15% for the EU average, the UK at 14% and Germany at 14%. Bulgaria had the smallest percentage at 6%, followed by Greece, Portugal and Romania at 9%. See figure 13.

Industry (%)Services (%)Construction (%)Distribution (%)Financial (%)
EU Average104715262
Belgium65117242
Bulgaria10416421
Czech Republic183817243
Germany124914232
Estonia115113241
Ireland75120193
Greece9489322
Spain74715283
France84718252
Croatia154712251
Italy114314302
Latvia105210262
Lithuania123916330
Luxembourg35711245
Hungary95111254
Netherlands65514223
Austria95610232
Poland133815313
Portugal9539272
Romania11409391
Slovenia155014192
Slovakia163819252
Finland115017202
Sweden85714192
United Kingdom75914182
Norway75619171
Table 1: Active Enterprises (Number) by Activity and Year
Number of Enterprises
  200820092010201120122013201420152016
Mining and quarrying (B)..434408412411421411405413
Manufacturing (C)14,51314,62914,31114,33614,53314,64914,62815,24215,583
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (D)..330403423456485483515551
Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (E)8448929289619859859751,0141,008
Construction (F)61,90557,47252,60750,25649,53048,50247,34950,54651,568
Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (G)46,23446,49446,82047,03047,55447,06145,61846,62646,595
Transportation and storage (H)27,74327,27127,19626,37026,28425,73424,59525,06624,614
Accommodation and food service activities (I)17,46617,46717,55217,69317,89217,91317,79018,33618,377
Information and communication (J)10,63211,26411,86912,35013,09913,57813,68714,24614,570
Financial and insurance activities excluding activities of holding companies (K-642)15,8366,6997,0416,9867,3107,5026,5937,0096,557
Real estate activities (L)9,76610,54111,36111,38711,98612,06511,91213,22813,249
Professional, scientific and technical activities (M)34,25936,05137,19437,68538,80538,91138,79540,18640,452
Administrative and support service activities (N)14,39914,88315,00114,99015,54815,76415,41216,42316,495
Business economy excluding activities of holding companies (B to N,-642)244,195244,428242,692240,880244,394243,571238,249248,843250,033
1 NACE code 64.20 Activities of holding companies is excluded from sector K.
.. indicates that the data has been suppressed to protect the confidentiality of individual enterprises.
Table 2: Persons Engaged (Number) by Activity and Year
Number of Persons Engaged
  200820092010201120122013201420152016
Mining and quarrying (B)5,1346,1764,3844,2694,1804,1464,0584,1644,058
Manufacturing (C)218,792194,172181,611181,050178,700181,091189,966200,047213,117
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (D)9,2359,9229,1178,8428,7358,2468,4968,8469,206
Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (E)7,7858,0097,1897,5347,5787,5088,0258,7408,971
Construction (F)190,069134,313104,54594,64089,35191,12299,860108,720120,341
Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (G)374,598345,721329,380328,147327,687332,768336,866345,911356,057
Transportation and storage (H)104,73097,34194,35892,58291,85291,64491,98594,62297,662
Accommodation and food service activities (I)163,673154,069148,189146,374150,735155,105161,097170,222179,827
Information and communication (J)73,29766,81167,68369,29072,68477,06082,01087,59795,220
Financial and insurance activities excluding activities of holding companies (K-642)1100,48794,27396,50396,54597,67396,37196,46097,83699,502
Real estate activities (L)21,61317,31218,42319,09520,11120,84822,77524,72325,744
Professional, scientific and technical activities (M)125,971113,458108,168108,630110,924115,426120,245127,591135,887
Administrative and support service activities (N)116,536103,884100,925102,328104,559106,682112,448123,962132,644
Business economy excluding activities of holding companies (B to N,-642)1,511,9201,345,4611,270,4751,259,3261,264,7691,288,0171,334,2911,402,9811,478,236
1 NACE code 64.20 Activities of holding companies is excluded from sector K.
Table 3: Persons Engaged (Number) by Size Class and Year
 Number of Persons Engaged
Business economy excluding activities of holding companies (B to N,-642)1200820092010201120122013201420152016
All persons engaged size classes1,511,9201,345,4611,270,4751,259,3261,264,7691,288,0171,334,2911,402,9811,478,236
Under 10425,018387,521372,075370,497371,116370,112373,342386,725392,829
10-19160,072139,072129,385126,201123,545125,812131,445138,098143,842
20 - 49197,808166,716152,823148,758150,353153,589160,269169,527183,730
50 - 249292,297247,755229,547230,472229,404236,123254,928274,531290,604
250 and over436,725404,397386,645383,398390,351402,381414,307434,100467,231
1 NACE code 64.20 Activities of holding companies is excluded from sector K.
Table 4: Enterprise Births (Number) by Activity and Year
  Number of Enterprise Births
  200820092010201120122013201420152016
Mining and quarrying (B)2333....2026181824
Manufacturing (C)6207776507708068419971,0601,196
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (D)2387563934..314357
Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (E)6673....66..646452
Construction (F)3,4433,5732,4672,5892,7572,4733,5264,2264,623
Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (G)2,4532,7582,5522,6832,7042,3042,4682,5732,848
Transportation and storage (H)1,6651,4541,0479811,0058051,0261,0441,083
Accommodation and food service activities (I)1,1671,1591,1371,2321,2061,1421,2511,4521,462
Information and communication (J)9691,1541,1081,1811,2751,2491,3331,3751,527
Financial and insurance activities excluding activities of holding companies (K-642)1437898448385519639418544466
Real estate activities (L)9341,4079258559158621,1711,4061,330
Professional, scientific and technical activities (M)2,5793,3432,5562,6432,7152,4312,8003,0003,174
Administrative and support service activities (N)1,0651,1299378991,0599521,1531,2961,407
Business economy excluding activities of holding companies (B to N,-642)15,44417,84513,95514,34315,07913,82516,25618,10019,249
1 NACE code 64.20 Activities of holding companies is excluded from sector K.
.. indicates that the data has been suppressed to protect the confidentiality of individual enterprises.
Table 5: Enterprise Deaths (Number) by Activity and Year
  Number of Enterprise Deaths
  20082009201020112012201320142015 2
Mining and quarrying (B)183119..21..2022
Manufacturing (C)8629558627728509357961,019
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (D) ..16........2539
Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (E)42566156..685659
Construction (F)7,5186,1464,6973,7863,5843,8033,0194,218
Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (G)2,8483,0392,8572,7712,9523,2172,6623,034
Transportation and storage (H)1,4441,7131,5611,3221,3081,5591,1791,561
Accommodation and food service activities (I)1,3081,3611,3071,2661,2921,4341,3701,435
Information and communication (J)8399809409011,0401,1871,1831,331
Financial and insurance activities excluding activities of holding companies (K-642)1..452..383562887502744
Real estate activities (L)7989048157259181,0859411,384
Professional, scientific and technical activities (M)2,2512,5372,4972,3162,6412,8402,6003,087
Administrative and support service activities (N)9251,0529468339451,2149841,422
Business economy excluding activities of holding companies (B to N,-642)19,15719,24217,02215,17716,19918,28715,33719,355 
1 NACE code 64.20 Activities of holding companies is excluded from sector K.
2 The enterprise deaths figures for 2015 are an estimate as a 2nd year of inactivity is necessary to be counted as a final death (see Background Notes).
.. indicates that the data has been suppressed to protect the confidentiality of individual enterprises.

Background Notes

This release covers the reference year 2016, however data on enterprise deaths relates to 2015. Statistics are also provided on enterprise births since 2011 that were still active during 2016. All 2016 enterprise births will be followed for 5 years to assess their survival rate and the resulting effect on employment.

Detailed data tables are available on CSO’s data dissemination service at:

http://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/database/eirestat/Business%20Demography/Business%20Demography_statbank.asp?sp=Business Demography&Planguage=0

The Background Notes at the link below provide more details on the release:

http://www.cso.ie/en/methods/surveybackgroundnotes/businessdemography/

For further information on the NACE Rev. 2 classification of economic activity, see this link:

http://www.cso.ie/en/surveysandmethodology/classifications/classificationofindustrialactivity/

Footnotes:

1The private business economy covers the NACE Rev 2 sectors B - N (excluding K64.20 Activities of holding companies). For comparison with previous Business Demography releases only sectors B – N (excluding K64.20, activities of holding companies) figures are included in the release text.

The full list of Rev 2 sectors covered is:

B – Mining and Quarrying

C – Manufacturing

D – Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply

E – Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities

F – Construction

G – Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles

H – Transportation and Storage

I – Accommodation and Food Service Activities

J – Information and Communication

K – Financial and Insurance Activities (excludes NACE code 64.20 Activities of holding companies)

L – Real Estate Activities

M – Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities

N – Administrative and Support Service Activities

An enterprise is considered to be active in a certain period if it generates turnover, employs staff or makes investments in that period.

The number of active enterprises in year t (reference year) cannot be calculated from previous active enterprise figures and births and deaths figures. e.g. the number of active enterprises in year t does not equal the number of active enterprises in year t-1, minus deaths in t-1 plus births in year t. Birth calculations involve profiling work where real births are checked and weights applied based on checks conducted (a similar process is conducted for death calculations). In addition, final enterprise deaths take two years to be finalised, therefore enterprises may not be in enterprise totals in one year but could be in the next year and may still not be considered an enterprise birth or death. 

Geographical Breakdown the geographical breakdown for enterprises is an approximation. The county breakdown is based on the address at which an enterprise is registered for Revenue purposes, rather than where the business actually operates from, because no comprehensive administrative data source is currently available for business locations. In particular, where an enterprise has local units in several counties, but one head office where all employment is registered, all its employees will be counted against the county where the head office is located. Enterprises where the county location is categorised as Unknown generally have Revenue registered addresses outside of the Republic of Ireland. However, the employees registered with these addresses are working in the Republic of Ireland.

2Persons engaged include employees, proprietors and family members. Persons engaged are the sum of Employees plus Working Proprietors.

Employees are persons who are paid a fixed wage or salary. Employees are calculated using an annual employment return received from Revenue. This return contains all registered employers and the number of employees they have paid a wage or salary for a reference year. The file can contain individuals paid a wage by an employer as well as self-employed individuals who pay themselves a working wage. An individual may be counted more than once for a reference year if they work multiple jobs in that reference year. The annual employment return from Revenue contains persons at work or temporarily absent because of illness, holidays, strike etc. If an individual is paid a wage for any segment of a reference year they are included in the overall figures.

Working Proprietors (Proprietors and family members); included here are those proprietors, partners, etc and members of their families who work regularly in the firm and are not paid a definite wage or salary. Working Proprietors is not a full count of self-employed individuals as some self-employed receive a wage and are returned via annual employment returns and are included in the Employees calculation.  

Comparison of Business Demography and Quarterly National Household Survey employment levels:
The primary classification used for the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) results is the International Labour Office (ILO) labour force classification. Labour Force Survey data on this basis have been published since 1988. The ILO classification distinguishes the following main subgroups of the population aged 15 or over

In Employment: Persons who worked in the week before the survey for one hour or more for payment or profit, including work on the family farm or business and all persons who had a job but were not at work because of illness, holidays etc. in the week.

Unemployed: Persons who, in the week before the survey, were without work and available for work within the next two weeks, and had taken specific steps, in the preceding four weeks, to find work. It should be noted that as per Eurostat’s operational implementation, the upper age limit for classifying a person as unemployed is 74 years.

Inactive Population (not in labour force): All other persons.

The labour force comprises persons employed plus unemployed. Persons in employment classify their employment status as being self-employed, employee, assisting relative/family worker or on a state sponsored employment scheme. Employees are defined as persons who work for a public or private employer and who receive compensation in the form of wages, salaries, fees, gratuities, payment by results or payment in kind. Self-employed persons who pay themselves a working wage are classified as self-employed in the QNHS.

Key Differences between QNHS and Business Demography figures include:
- Business Demography is based purely on administrative data received from Revenue on an annual basis.
- QNHS is based on survey data which is collected every quarter from the household.
- Business Demography does not cap employment at 1 or at any value for an individual. Business Demography employment is a count of persons engaged at an enterprise and sector level. All work conducted by an individual over an annual period is included in the relevant enterprise (and therefore sector) in which they worked, on the basis of weeks (not hours) worked.
- QNHS caps employment at 2 for an individual in relation to full time equivalence only, therefore it takes into consideration a person’s first and second job. Otherwise employment is capped at one for an individual. 
- Timing issues. As stated, QNHS is conducted on a quarterly basis while Business Demography is conducted over a yearly basis. QNHS also takes into account the hours worked by an individual and uses these values in full time equivalent employment calculations. Business Demography operates on a weeks worked basis from files received from Revenue. If an individual is classed as working 52 weeks in a reference period for an enterprise, they are classed as 1 employee (no hours worked is taken into consideration), irrespective of how many hours they have actually worked in those weeks.

3The composition of sectors used in the graphs is as follows:

- Services: Sectors H,I,J,L,M,N

- Distribution: Sector G

- Industry: Sectors B,C,D,E

- Construction: Sector F

- Financial Service Activities: Sector K excluding 64.20, Activities of holding companies.

4Small and Medium Enterprises are defined as enterprises with less than 250 persons engaged. The persons engaged breakdown provided in the figures are;

Less than 10: Micro Enterprises

10 – 49: Small Enterprises

50 – 249: Medium Enterprises

250+: Large Enterprises.

5Enterprise Deaths: An enterprise death amounts to the dissolution of a combination of production factors with the restriction that no other enterprises are involved in the event. Deaths do not include exits from the population due to mergers, takeovers, break-ups or restructuring of a set of enterprises. It does not include exits from a sub-population resulting only from a change of activity.

An enterprise is included in the count of deaths only if it is not reactivated within two years.

The population of enterprise deaths in 2015 contains all enterprises that ceased at some point during the year 2015. The figures given in the release in relation to deaths are final figures for the period 2008 – 2014. The death figures for 2015 in this release are estimates of final deaths based on analysis of preliminary and final death figures from previous years. This will be revised to a final figure next year, when two years of death data is available. The death figures for 2015 in the Statbank tables are preliminary based on one year’s data, and are not adjusted as per the estimates given in this release.

6Enterprise Births: An enterprise birth amounts to the creation of a combination of production factors with the restriction that no other enterprises are involved in the event. Births do not include entries into the population due to mergers, break-ups, split-off or restructuring of a set of enterprises. It does not include entries into a sub-population resulting only from a change of activity.

A birth occurs when an enterprise starts from scratch and actually starts activity. An enterprise creation can be considered an enterprise birth if new production factors, in particular new jobs, are created. If a dormant unit is reactivated within two years, this event is not considered a birth.

The population of enterprise births in 2016 contains all enterprises that started at some stage during the year 2016.

7Population, births and survival data in this release relates to 2016, but the latest deaths data available is for 2015.

8Business Demography figures at an EU level are available at the following link. Latest data available is for 2015.

 http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/structural-business-statistics/entrepreneurship/business-demography

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