Start-Ups Boom Heralded

Northern Ireland has played its part in what is being described as a record breaking year for start-ups.

According to research, there were 6,369 new businesses started in the north in 2014 – up by 312 on the previous year.

The figures from StartUp Britain found there were 581,173 businesses registered with Companies House for the first time last year beating the previous record of 526,446 firms recorded in 2013, and 484,224 the year before.

They compiled data from Companies House using firms’ postcodes to compile an entrepreneurial map of the UK.

The study identified a “clear trend” in the number of businesses starting up outside London – which topped the list with 184,671 new companies.

It was followed by Birmingham with 18,337 and Manchester with 13,054.

Northern Ireland was ranked 15th on the list placing it just ahead of Cardiff.

It was also well ahead of major cities such as Liverpool and Newcastle.

Serial business starter Luke Johnson, chairman of the Centre for Entrepreneurs said: “Starting a business is easier, quicker and cheaper than ever thanks to new technology.

“Entrepreneurs have higher profiles than in the past and are seen as role models. Traditional jobs for life have largely disappeared, as have occupational pensions.”

Alan Watts, director of the Halo business angel network said the figures “ring true but don’t tell the whole story and there is a lot of good news to come”.

“Another set of figures is the Knowledge Economy Index which showed we were the second best performing region in the UK,” he said.

Halo based at the Northern Ireland Science Park helps match new and established businesses with investors.

Mr Watts said the growth in start ups in the north was “not surprising” given the region’s history of innovation.

“If you look back at the Titanic, it obviously wasn’t a success but was an engineering feat. And you have all the maths that went into MRI scans came from a man from Northern Ireland.”

Last year the north was granted entrepreneurial region status in the European Parliament which is designed to create a focus on job creation and new start ups over the next two years.

It shares the European Entrepreneurial Region status with Lisbon in Portugal and Valencia in Spain.

While there are more business start ups figures from the Office for National Statistics also show a marked drop in the number of business failures.

The number of firms dropping out of the Companies House register fell by 6 per cent from 253,000 to 238,000, last year.