Local economies increase UK business growth

Stephen Agar at Royal Mail said: “It is encouraging to see how certain areas are experiencing focused and localised growth. We expect this trend to become even more evident over the coming months as businesses new to an area start to use the services of local suppliers.”

Royal Mail’s latest Business Barometer highlights the emergence of existing enterprise hotspots that are delivering business growth on a local level.

This study reveals that Lincoln tops the league for business growth with a 2.08 per cent increase in the number of companies trading in the city.

Over the last six months, 109 new businesses have started up in Lincoln. 57 existing companies have chosen to move to the city. This takes the total number of active businesses in Lincoln to 8,000.

Swansea follows Lincoln in the business growth league with a 1.84 per cent rise in active businesses. Sunderland and Durham are a close third with 1.83 per cent growth. Ashford is fifth in the table with a rise in active businesses of 1.82 per cent.

Business growth is most prevalent in the North East. Of the top ten cities attracting business, four are based in the region: Sunderland (3rd), Durham (4th), Middlesbrough (7th), and Newcastle upon Tyne (8th). Collectively they saw 500 new businesses launch and 113 move into the cities. This supports wider economic analysis[i] in recent months suggesting that as public sector employment shifts into the private sector in this region, it will become a real hotspot for start-ups.

Romford is the fastest growing town for start-up businesses. In the past six months, 103 new sites were established. This represents 1.96 per cent of all businesses in the town.

Second in the start-up league is Durham, where the number of new companies represents 1.87 per cent of all the businesses in the area. It is followed by Swansea and Middlesbrough where 1.81 per cent of all businesses were established in the past six months. Sunderland is fifth in the start-up table where the figure is 1.7 per cent.

The Royal Mail Business Barometer is published every six months and looks at the number of businesses that have moved location, have recently started up or have opened a new site, as an indicator of economic activity across the UK. It is collated using the Royal Mail Business Movers File and Royal Mail Business Changes File.

Investment has fuelled the growth in Lincoln’s business population, making it the UK’s number one UK hotspot for firms moving into and starting up in an area.

Simon Beardsley, chief executive of Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Business growth in Lincoln over the past six months has been driven by significant investment.

“The city has secured a £25 million investment in the city’s Waterside Shopping Centre, Lincolnshire County Council has won £450,000 of European money to build new offices, and transport links have improved with direct train links into London and the building of a £20m east-west link road through the city.”

He added: “Lincoln is a beautiful city to live and work in and this investment makes it all the more attractive.”

One such start-up that chose to use Lincoln as its business base is Cecy Ctyles, a tailor-made ladieswear designer. Originally from Tanzania, Cecilia Nyamizi Mwenda (21) started designing clothes while at the University of Lincoln and registered her business in 2008 at her parents’ home address in Leicester. On graduating Enterprise@Lincoln gave her a bursary, set her up with an office in the Sparkhouse Studios, business training, and importantly helped her to engage with the local business network.

Cecilia said: “I love living and working in Lincoln. It’s a great city and I have met some really interesting people. In my building alone, there are graphic designers, a theatre production company and language services.

“Through Enterprise@Lincoln, I have been able to engage with local fabric suppliers, photographers and models and wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.”