Publications that covered this story include i on 17 October 2016.
- Area has seen more new business growth than anywhere else in the UK
- Northampton has become a hub for advanced tech businesses in the automotive sector
- Northern Ireland struggling for new business growth
According to our research, Northampton is the UK’s number one town for new business creation, with 43 more new businesses per 10,000 population created than a year ago*.
The UK national average was 12 new businesses, per 10,000 population, created in the last year. Northampton narrowly beat London in terms of new business creation, where 42 more new businesses per 10,000 population were formed compared to the previous year.
We explain that Northampton is benefitting from its position as one of the UK’s leading centres for the advanced manufacturing sector, particularly those specialising in the automotive industry.
Increasing numbers of advanced manufacturing businesses are choosing the region as a base for their UK operations, joining a network of 1,000** engineering, technology and manufacturing businesses serving the region’s automotive sector. Current major employers in the region include the Mercedes-Benz Formula One team; Cosworth, the motorsport engine producer, and GE Precision Engineering, an engineering, design and manufacturing firm catering to the motorsport industry.
We add that increasing numbers of advanced manufacturing companies within the automotive industry are moving to Silverstone Park, the technology and business park alongside the world-famous race track which specialises in precision engineering and manufacturing for the motorsport sector, including:
- KTM, the motorbike manufacturer;
- Zetasafe, the compliance software creator; and
- Delta Motorsport, the engineering solutions provider.
Northampton benefits from being centrally located within the UK, offering excellent transport links with both London and the North, opening up trade links across the UK. The proximity to airports such as Luton and Birmingham also unlocks opportunities for international trade.
We highlight that local authorities have, over the past few years, tried to boost economic growth and encourage new businesses to the area.
In 2015, the Northamptonshire Growth Hub was launched in a partnership with The University of Northampton, Northamptonshire County Council and Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership. The Hub provides individuals and businesses access to a range of business support, on both a local and national level.
Colin Jones, partner, says that “The UK’s automotive industry used to be an international joke- now Northampton’s advanced automotive cluster is a leading location for hi-tech engineering.”
“This has allowed Northampton to power ahead of the rest of the UK for new business creation.”
“High rents are driving many firms out of London and the South-East. Northampton’s position within the UK, as well as local efforts to entice business growth, make moving or starting up there an exciting prospect for many business owners.”
“For companies with activities across the UK, the area is a strong choice for a headquarters location, due to the easy access to many of the UK’s main economic hubs.”
Five of the bottom ten in Northern Ireland, focus shifts to encouraging growth
At the other end of the spectrum, the Northern Ireland economy did not fare as well as hoped in terms of net new business growth. Five out of ten areas with the biggest reductions in the number of new businesses were in the region.
North Down and Ards, in the east of Northern Ireland had the biggest reduction in the UK in terms of new businesses, with 14 fewer per 10,000 population compared to a year ago.
We explain that the economy of Northern Ireland is still trying to improve in terms of its growth compared to other regions in the UK. Northern Ireland produces more young people who go to university then in the rest of the UK. 50% of young people from Northern Ireland go to university, compared to 34% in England***.
Northern Ireland also has one of the youngest work forces in Europe, 40% of the population are under 29, and 55% are under 40****.
Colin Jones says: “It is the younger business sectors and younger entrepreneurs, in areas like technology, in Northern Ireland that need to be the catalyst in new business growth.”
“The Northern Irish workforce is younger and well educated, and that makes them a unique resource, one that needs to be properly harnessed. There is plenty of room for improvement for the economy of Northern Ireland and more needs to be done by the government to spark investment in this area.”
Top ten areas for net new businesses per 10,000 population
|Region||Net New Business|
|Spelthorne , Surrey||32|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||30|
Bottom ten areas for Net new businesses per 10,000 population
|Region||Net New Business|
|North Down and Ards, NI||-14|
|Cannock Chase, Staffordshire||-5|
|North Kesteven, Lincolnshire||-5|
|Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon||-2|
|Mid Ulster, NI||-1|
|Antrim and Newtownabbey, NI||-1|
|Causeway Coast and Glens, NI||-1|
|East Lindsey, Lincolnshire||0|
* Analysis of number of net new businesses per 10,000 in 356 UK towns. Year end 31 December 2014, latest figures available.
** According to Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, funded by Northampton City Council.
***Data from The University of Derry
**** Data from Invest NI