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Future 50: Was 2016 a good year for entrepreneurs?

PUBLISHED: 16:24 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:25 13 February 2017

Better access to finance made 2016 a good year for entrepreneurs, according to research from Barclays. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

Better access to finance made 2016 a good year for entrepreneurs, according to research from Barclays. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.


The past year will be remembered for economic uncertainty, but it was a good time for entrepreneurs, writes Barclays’ Simon Smith.

24.9.15 - Ipswich.
Simon Smith, Barclays Wealth.
Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages24.9.15 - Ipswich. Simon Smith, Barclays Wealth. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

Barclays’ eighth Entrepreneurs Index, which tracks the entrepreneurial lifecycle across UK regions, using data to measure start-ups, business growth and exits, showed that overall UK entrepreneurial performance is at an all-time high – up 10% since 2011.

In the latest edition of the index, for the first time, Barclays has combined environmental measures, such as access to finance and talent, along with entrepreneurial outcomes of growth and exit activity, in order to assess the strength of the UK’s entrepreneurial environment and opportunities for wealth creation.

The UK’s environmental enablers for entrepreneurs are up 13 percentage points in five years and, encouragingly, 4 percentage points higher than in 2015. This shift was driven by greater access to finance and skills, and also improvements in regulation, research and innovation.

In the East of England, entrepreneurial activity has continued to thrive. The number of new businesses rose by 4.5% in the year to March 2016 reaching a total of 253,955 start-ups. The index also showed a steady rise in the percentage of high-growth companies within the SME population, with a 0.7% increase, in line with the national average.

The region also saw an increase in the number of entrepreneurs realising their wealth from their businesses in the year to June 2016. There were 160 deals, a 29% increase on the same period previously. The UK saw a record number of deals, resulting in a rise of 33%.

While entrepreneurship in the East of England seemingly continues to flourish, Britain has gone through significant economic and political change. However, instead of feeling discouraged by the complexities of the EU Referendum results, entrepreneurs and business leaders should feel positive about the wider economic opportunities.

At Barclays we believe entrepreneurs are instrumental to the future of the UK. Therefore throughout this period of uncertainty, it’s important we focus on and support entrepreneurial growth.

The East of England is a collaborative, successful region for entrepreneurial activity and remains well placed for further growth and expansion.

This is why Barclays is focused on developing specialist support services and funding solutions for high growth companies to help drive continued economic growth.

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