Scottish Government statisticians estimated the total stock of businesses in the country increased by 0.5%, 1745, to 343,105 in the year to March 2013. That compared with 341,360 at the end of the preceding period.
The increase seems to have been driven by a surge in people starting their own one person ventures amid tough labour market conditions. It took the stock of private sector enterprises in Scotland to the highest level since comparable records were first compiled in 2000.
The Scottish Government noted Scotland had recorded an increase in business numbers every year since 2006, in spite of the challenging economic conditions experienced throughout much of that period.
In the UK as a whole, the number of businesses increased by 2.1% annually in the latest period. Whitehall officials estimated there were 4,900,000 businesses in the UK at the start of 2013.
The Government said most of the latest increase in the business stock on both sides of the border was driven by growth in the number of micro firms.
Some 1280 out of the 1745 new business in Scotland were included in this category, with annual sales below the £77,000 VAT threshold and no employees besides the owner.
The 340,840 small and medium sized enterprises in Scotland in March accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses and 54.7% of private sector employment.
Andy Willox, Scottish policy convenor for the Federation of Small Businesses said: "These figures show that entrepreneurship and small businesses are the engine of the Scottish economy."
The figures also underline the importance of large firms with more than 250 employees in Scotland.
The number of big firms increased by 20 in the year to March, to 2270. These accounted for 45.3% of private sector employment.
Some 35.2% of private sector employment was in businesses with owners based outside Scotland. Around 19% of jobs were in firms with ultimate ownership in the rest of the UK with 16.5% in firms with owners based abroad.
Asked about the latest growth rate, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: "Between March 2007 and March 2013, the total number of businesses in Scotland increased by 21.3%, whilst the total UK businesses increased by 15% from the start of 2007 until the start of 2013."
The Scottish Government provided rates relief worth £154m in total to 92,381 firms in the latest financial year under the Small Business Bonus Scheme. It provided £144m relief in total to 89,087 firms in the previous year.