North West

An established entrepreneurial hotspot

The North West remains an established entrepreneurial hub, with the fourth-largest number of high-growth companies in the UK, with 320 – almost 8% of the UK total. Only London (1,529), the South East (572) and the East of England (360) boast more.

The number of private equity-backed companies in the region has dropped to 78, from 91 the previous year. Despite this decrease, the North West is home to the greatest number of private equity-backed companies of any region outside London (204) and the South East (115).

The number of companies with venture capital funding has seen a significant decrease, from 32 in last year’s research to just nine – the lowest number of any region except the East Midlands, which is home to three VC-backed companies. The value of VC investment has, however, actually increased to £12 million, from £11 million in last year’s research – suggesting that, while a lower number of companies are receiving VC funding, the average amount invested per company may be higher.

360: Number of high-growth companies
£248m: Amount of expansion funding invested

The maturity of the entrepreneurial scene in the region is highlighted by the high number of companies receiving expansion funding. At 55 (up from 42 in last year’s research), this outstrips every other UK region except London (66), and is within arm’s reach of the capital’s figures. The value of this funding is also the second-highest in the country, at £248 million, in strong contrast to neighbouring regions such as the North East, whose companies saw £10 million in expansion funding.

In fact, the strong growth and expansion activity in the North West bucks the national trend: the overall Index found that the total number of UK companies receiving expansion investment has decreased since last year’s research.

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.