The capital, the south west of the country and Wales top the index of small businesses making substantial contributions to their home regions, according to the Barclays Business Regional Impact Index.
The survey ranked regions on indicators including profit last year and expected profit in 2010, outlook on growth, employment generation, investment in training, purchasing from local suppliers and innovation.
The survey said London and the south west led the index overall largely due to their exposure to external markets.
However, businesses in central England, south west England and south west England were the most optimistic about job prospects in the coming year.
Those businesses in the south west were the most optimistic about growth followed by those in London and Wales.
Yorkshire and Humberside had the highest number of profitable businesses, followed by the north east and the east of England.
Barclays Business director Travers Clarke-Walker said the index showed that the contribution of small businesses to the economy had never been greater. “Small businesses have contributed and continue to contribute to the resilience of local regions amid unstable economic conditions, the credit crunch and public sector cutbacks.
“They are without question the ones driving growth and creating jobs in every city of the UK.
“The UK’s small businesses are demonstrating both a resilience that is inspiring and an entrepreneurial drive to succeed.”