The South East has maintained its position as a hub for entrepreneurialism year-on-year, according to the Barclays Entrepreneurship Index. In spite of a 6% decrease in the number of high-growth companies, the South East ranks second only to London as the home of high-growth companies (with 572), and has more than 200 more high-growth companies than the next-highest region, the East of England (on 360).
But the North West is coming through quickly behind London, pushing the South East into third place for some key indicators. On expansion funding, the South East has fewer companies with this form of funding (45), and with a lower amount (£229 million), than the other two regions (London – 66 companies and £742 million and the North West – 55 companies and £248 million). Nationally, the number of companies receiving expansion funding has decreased, but the value of this funding has increased 70%.
However, it’s a positive picture for venture capital funding in the South East at £58 million, with a third consecutive year of growth in this kind of funding, and a level that outpaces every region but London. Nationally, the number of companies receiving venture capital funding has decreased.
Nationally there is also a mixed picture with merger and acquisitions at an all-time high, as well as the number of new enterprises being created 8% higher than the previous year. Together, they’ve helped the Entrepreneurs Index see the strongest levels of entrepreneurial outputs since the annual research began in 2011. However, growth levels among young enterprises are down. The number of high-growth companies is at an all-time low, 33% lower than its peak in 2013.
Robin Reynolds, Regional Director in the South East, Barclays Wealth Management, said: “It is positive to see that the South East is continuing as a magnet for entrepreneurial activity in the UK. It has bucked the national trend, with venture capital investment continuing to grow in the region. However, there are signs that other regions, like the North West, are catching up and it is important that high levels of VC investment translate into strong growth for companies based here.”