SMEs are the backbone of Britain. In economic terms, businesses that employ fewer than 250 people contribute more than £2 trillion of turnover to the UK’s coffers every year. And they employ 44% of the British workforce.
But the last few years have seen turbulent times for businesses of all sizes and varieties. From the pandemic to the unprecedented cost-of-living (and doing business), startups and SMEs have had to be more creative and committed than ever to thrive.
At Tyl by NatWest, we understand how important it is for business owners to feel connected with their local communities. That’s why we work closely with small businesses by offering them the support and tools they need to thrive and succeed.
We’ve been working across the nation with businesses through our Giveback Community Fund, in partnership with Pennies. Giveback is just one of the ways in which you can effect meaningful change your customers will appreciate. Because for every card payment you take, we donate to charities and community projects around the country. We’ve raised over £520,000 to date – and that’s growing as our customers’ businesses thrive
Reasons to be optimistic
Despite the challenging backdrop of 2023, compounded by inflationary pressures for both businesses and consumers, the number of small businesses in the UK has continued to grow.
This is good news. Not just for Britain’s economy, but also for our local communities. Because small and medium businesses around the UK are often the lifeblood of our towns and cities. And enterprise can be the springboard for people to come together and share a vision for what their local area can be.
So where are Britain’s busiest new business hotspots? And what does this mean for the local communities and high streets where these new enterprises spring up?
New research from Tyl by NatWest, in partnership with Data City, has uncovered where business has really boomed in the UK since 2017. Accumulating five years of data from Companies House showing the number of businesses newly opened in some of the most economically significant sectors for cities across the UK, we have built a comprehensive picture of the nation’s entrepreneurial growth.
To ensure our research is representative of Britain’s diverse business landscape, we selected the largest city by metropolitan population across all 14 regions of the UK.
Our fastest growing regions
To identify the fastest growing markets in each city, we have used a percentage increase from 2017 to 2022 to most accurately compare the data city to city.
With more than 32 sectors ranked in our growing markets index, London presents a prime opportunity for bold new businesses in fresh produce, retail, hardware, and entertainment services hoping to crack the capital.
Birmingham and Manchester are also teeming hubs for new business opportunities, with 22 sectors making the cut on our growing markets index. Coming out on top for bakeries, bookkeeping and veterinary services, Birmingham is brimming with specialist startups, while Manchester leads on opticians and tax consultancy.
Our fastest emerging regions
If there were 10 or fewer companies operating in a certain sector in 2017, we have identified the city as an emerging market to illustrate the areas where the most exciting new business hubs have come to light.
Topping our emerging market index is Leicester, with 12 new sectors taking the city by storm. Taking particular leaps in the Higher Education sector, Leicester has also seen surges in child day care services and travel agencies. Also ranking highly on our national emerging markets index were Leeds and Portsmouth, both demonstrating significant growth in artisanal crafts such as bakeries and butchers’ shops.
Building your business community
We know the importance of SMEs having the right tools so they can dig deeper and go further in their business to build stronger communities. Our Evolving Enterprise Index is part of that toolkit, helping new ventures understand and contextualise the unique business blend of their local market.
Find out more about how your local business landscape is changing.
Download the full Evolving Enterprise Index report here (PDF).
In partnership with Data City, we have accumulated five years of data from Companies House showing the number of businesses newly opened in some of the most economically significant sectors for cities across the UK. To ascertain a full national picture, we selected the largest city by metropolitan population across all 14 regions of the UK.
To identify the fastest growing markets in each city, we have used a percentage increase from 2017 to 2022 to most accurately compare the data city to city. If there were 10 or fewer companies operating in a certain sector in 2017, we have identified the city as an emerging market to illustrate the areas where the most exciting new business hubs have come to light.
This has been prepared by Tyl by NatWest for informational purposes only and should not be treated as advice or a recommendation. There may be other considerations relevant to you and your business so you should undertake your own independent research.
Tyl by NatWest makes no representation, warranty, undertaking or assurance (express or implied) with respect to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, or reasonableness of the information provided.
Tyl by NatWest accepts no liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential losses (in contract, tort or otherwise) arising from the use of the information contained herein. However, this shall not restrict, exclude, or limit any duty or liability to any person under any applicable laws or regulations of any jurisdiction which may not be lawfully disclaimed.