South East

Entrepreneurship thrives, despite an uncertain national environment

The South East continues to shine as a hub for entrepreneurship, outpaced by London alone across most metrics.

With 572 high growth companies, the South East ranks second behind London (1,529) and has more than 200 more high growth companies than the next-highest region, the East of England (360). The South East has 45 companies with expansion funding, being outpaced by London and new powerhouse the North West. This is true for the South East’s amount of expansion funding as well; at £229 million, it falls behind London and the North West.

572: Number of high-growth companies
£229m: Amount of expansion funding invested

However, when it comes to venture capital funding, the South East is the strongest region outside of London. It has the second-highest number of private equity-backed companies at 115, and of VC-funded companies with 54. With £58 million of VC funding, it also far outpaces every region but London, and has had three consecutive years of growth in this kind of funding.

In fact, while national start-up and expansion metrics have been in flux, the South East has thrived. Funding and companies still continue grow across most indicators – though the South East now also has strong competition outside of London as well, coming from the North West’s attractive business climate.

Key findings

National data offers a conflicted snapshot of entrepreneurship, while regional data proffers a promise of diversifying new business activity. London and the South East remain strong incubators, and the North’s entrepreneurial growth is strong. 

Entrepreneurs Index

A barometer of the entrepreneurial environment and activity in the UK. This, the ninth volume, focuses on three main indicators: start-up activity, growth of new business and exits of young enterprises.