East of England among leading regions for business start-ups

Simon Smith, East of England regional director at Barclays Wealth and Investment Management.

Simon Smith, East of England regional director at Barclays Wealth and Investment Management. - Credit: Professional Images/@ProfImages

The number of businesses in the East of England is growing at nearly twice the national average rate, a new report has revealed.

According to the latest Barclays and BGF Entrepreneurs Index, the number of enterprises in the region grew by 7% in the year to March 2015, to around 243,000.

This compared with an increase of 3.86% in the total nation-wide, itself the fastest rate of growth seen since the index was launched in 2012.

The study also found that the East of England is one of only three UK regions and nations – together with the South West and Wales – to have see an increase in the proportion of high growth companies, with a rise of 0.2% in the year to December 2014 .

And the East of England also saw 142 deals resulting in wealth creation of £200,000 or more over the 12 months to the end of June 2015, an increase of 19.3% on the same period a year earlier – the third highest rise in the country, only beaten by the South West and Scotland.

Simon Smith, regional director at Barclays Wealth and Investment Management in East of England, said:

“The East of England is a hub for entrepreneurial activity, largely driven by the tech enterprise zones that have grown up around Cambridge and Norwich and their respective universities. However, activity is not limited to those cities with other counties in the region supporting start-up businesses and entrepreneurs.”

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“Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that not only are more companies starting up, and realising the wealth of their businesses, but the East of England is performing above the national average in terms of high growth companies.

“We now need to ensure this success is sustained, to enable a greater proportion of businesses in the East of England to achieve high growth ambitions.”

Chris Hodges, a member of the investor team at BGF, covering, East Anglia, Cambridgeshire and Essex, said: “As a minority investor of long-term equity capital I am excited by the size and dynamics of the opportunity for growing ambitious UK companies in the East of England.

“It is exciting to see that the region has supported such a significant number of entrepreneurs in starting up their own companies, and I’m hoping that their confidence will encourage other business leaders to pursue their ambitions too.

“These figures echo the ambition that we experience regularly as we meet growth-oriented business owners in the East of England. We look forward to investing capital, aligning shareholders and providing board-level support to help achieve their near and long term goals.”