Tech start-ups soar throughout the North West

Nick Wyatt

The number of new tech companies being set up in the North West rose by 48% in 2018, according to new analysis by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.

In total, there were 1,079 software development and programming businesses incorporated in 2018, according to data held by Companies House, a 48% increase on the 729 companies set up in the previous year – the highest growth of any UK region.

The UK data also revealed growth in tech company incorporations across every region in the UK, with the exception of Scotland where the number of tech start-ups dipped slightly by four per cent, and in the North East where the numbers remained flat.

Nick Wyatt, RSM’s head of technology, media and telecoms team in the North West, said: “Given the current economic uncertainty, it’s fantastic to see that regional tech start-ups have continued their upward trajectory.

“UK tech businesses attracted more venture capital investment than anywhere else in Europe in 2018 with the North West contributing heavily to this – highlighted by the significant increase in tech businesses starting up in the region.

“Whilst London continues to lead the way in the UK, we are seeing venture capital, private equity, alternative funders and international investors being attracted to the North West, largely driven by the growing tech community and quality investment opportunities.”

He added: “Tax incentives such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme, R&D tax credits, video games tax relief and the Patent Box regime, and growth in the talent pool available to tech businesses in the North West, are also playing their part in helping to fuel this growth.

“The challenge for start-ups, particularly in the tech space, is to develop at speed and to scale-up fast, but get the formula right, find the right backers and success can be very lucrative.”

He said: “It is refreshing to see the number of North West-based tech start-ups that, despite rapid and often global growth, have chosen to continue to base their headquarters in the region.”

In order to support the growth ambitions of successful UK tech-based scale-ups, RSM has recently announced its partnership with Upscale 4.0 – a six-month accelerator programme delivered by Tech Nation.

RSM will work with Tech Nation to offer its latest cohort of 30 companies access to its expertise and experience in a bid to assist the next phase of their growth ambitions.