Region boasts strongest growth for micro-business entrepreneurship

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A micro-business ‘powerhouse’ has emerged in areas of North West England during the global pandemic, with growth in new ventures outstripping that in the South.

That is according to data from website provider GoDaddy’s latest ‘State of the Nation’ review.

Parts of Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire saw the strongest growth, according to the latest figures.

More than a year on since the first COVID-19 lockdown, the data shows there has been a 21% increase in new ventures across the nation.

The strongest growth was seen in ‘The Northwest Gateway’ – an area spanning from Stafford and Telford in the Midlands to Cheshire in the North – which saw new venture numbers soar by 65%.

And while areas of London and Surrey feature in the top 10, all other entries in the top five are in the North of England or Scotland. They are the Manchester and Liverpool corridor – 56.8% growth – East Lancashire – 36.4% – Yorkshire West & North – 31% – and the Scottish Highlands & Islands – 31%.

James Eadie, senior director brand marketing at GoDaddy, said: “At a time when the Government is aiming to ‘level up’ the UK and fuel growth outside of London and the South East, our data confirms that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well right across the four corners of the United Kingdom, and is further reflected in the top 10 regional hotspots, in particular in the North where we’ve seen a sustained increase in new online ventures.

“Despite the many challenges caused by the pandemic, a ‘second digital revolution’ has emerged and savvy micro-businesses have been able to take advantage of getting online to benefit from the increasing consumer shift to ecommerce.”

James Eadie

GoDaddy and the British Chambers of Commerce are to host free webinars to help aspiring and existing new venture founders launch and grow a business online.

British Chambers of Commerce co-executive director, Hannah Essex, said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with GoDaddy to deliver this series of masterclasses at such a crucial time for small and micro-businesses.

“We know that throughout the accredited chamber network many firms have moved mountains in the past year to transform the way they engage with consumers and deliver their products and services.

“The stories we’ve heard from around the UK are ones of businesses not just turning to digital adoption for survival in the pandemic, but proactively making moves in ecommerce that will turn into lasting innovations for them.

“We hope that by partnering with GoDaddy on this series of events we can share expertise that will allow others to follow these success stories, as well as help those already making strides in the digital space to hit new heights in the future.”