Start-ups rise in the East

The number of start-up businesses in the East of England reached 19,500 for the first half of 2006, an increase of 9% on the same period last year, according to the latest small business research from Barclays released this week.

By Kate McNally

The number of start-up businesses in the East of England reached 19,500 for the first half of 2006, an increase of 9% on the same period last year, according to the latest small business research from Barclays released this week.

In Suffolk, there were a total of 2,100 new start-ups, with St Edmundsbury and Suffolk Coastal areas achieving the highest numbers reporting 400 each.

The boroughs of Ipswich, Mid Suffolk and Waveney reported the creation of 300 new businesses for the period, and Babergh and Forest Heath each had 200.

Debbie Wildridge, director of Business Services for Business Link for Suffolk, said she was delighted by the increased confidence of Suffolk entrepreneurs.

“In the last 10 years Business Link has helped over 2,000 businesses to start trading and through our contracts with the Enterprise Agencies in Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft there is plenty of advice and support available. This includes help for pre-start ideas as well as the skills needed to actually get up and running.

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“In a rural area where industries such as agriculture, food processing and manufacturing are under increasing pressure it is very encouraging to see new companies being started by people willing to set up locally.”

In north Essex, 700 businesses set up in Chelmsford, 600 in Colchester and 500 in Braintree, the statistics from Barclays showed.

Nationally, 205,000 new businesses were set up in the first six months across the UK, up from 183,800 in the first half of 2005. The information is based on the number of new business bank accounts opened.

The motor trade, wholesale and retail sector and the property services sector enjoyed the biggest uplift in start-up volumes, each increasing by 15% - to 36,300 and 12,500 businesses respectively.

Of the 19,500 new start-ups in the Eastern region, 13,100 were started by men compared to 3,600 by women and 2,800 with participation from both genders. Across the UK, the number of businesses set up by women in the first half of this year rose by 9% over last year to 38,100.

Tony Reynolds, Barclays local business regional director for Eastern, said: “The regional figures are good news as the 9% growth in start-ups across the East has risen pretty much in line with the national average, but the region should not rest on its laurels as other regions have grown by more.

“It's still a good climate for small businesses as there is a growing trend for people to venture out on their own to aspire to a better work-life balance and the desire to exceed earning potential.”

He added: “Start-ups remain buoyant this year and people setting up on their own are demonstrating how they can successfully contribute towards the UK businesses and the economy.

“Business start-ups such as property services, which include interior design and property development, offer increasing flexibility and are proving very popular with both sexes.”

* Barclays organises free start-up events across the country for people considering starting up their own business. They cover business plans, sourcing finance, managing cashflow, legal requirements, taxation and marketing. For more information, go to www.barclays.co.uk/seminars