The fourth edition of the bi-annual Barclays and BGF Entrepreneurs Index tracks entrepreneurial activity across regions and sectors of the UK, using data to measure start-ups, growth and share sales.

Growth in active companies and start-ups

The number of active companies in the UK increased by 7% in 2013 to form 2.9m companies in total.

  • The number of active companies in the UK grew by 7% in 2013
  • A record 526,466 businesses were registered at Companies House in 2013

An impressive increase in the proportion of high-growth companies

Every region across the UK saw an increase in the number of companies within the revenue band of £2.5m to £10m in the 12 months up to March 2013.

  • The proportion of high-growth companies in the UK rose by 30%

‘Old economy’ sectors rejuvenated

In the period from March 2012 to March 2013, the largest proportionate increases in high-growth companies have been in more traditional sectors, such as construction (55%), manufacturing (47%) and transport (37%).

Share sales decline in early economic recovery

Overall there was a 16% decline in the number of active companies undertaking share sales in the second half of 2013. In the period H2 2012 to H2 2013 the percentage variation across different revenue bands was:

  • Turnover £2.5 - 5m, 52% decline
  • Turnover £5m - 10m, 16% decline
  • Turnover £10m - 20m, 20% increase
  • Turnover £20 - 50m, 10% increase
  • Turnover £50 - 100m, 23% decline

It should be noted that at the time of extracting data, not all companies would have registered the share sales they had undertaken in 2013.

Wales, Midlands, North West, East Anglia and Yorkshire and the Humber have seen particularly steep rises in high-growth companies

Though London undoubtedly remains the powerhouse of the UK economy, several regions showed a rise in high-growth companies in the year to March 2013. Five regions outperformed London:

  • 66% rise in the proportion of high-growth companies in Wales
  • 54% rise in the proportion of high-growth companies in the Midlands
  • 44% rise in the proportion of high-growth companies in the North West
  • 42% rise in the proportion of high-growth companies in East Anglia 
  • 38% rise in the proportion of high-growth companies in Yorkshire & the Humber 
  • (17% rise in the proportion of high-growth companies in London)

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