UK now boasts almost 12,000 “high-growth” small businesses

Number of small firms achieving growth is at highest level since dotcom boom with "striking number" of fast-growth businesses now based outside of London

The number of “high-growth” small and medium-sized businesses across the UK has risen to 11,855 – the largest number since the dotcom boom of the early 2000’s – according to analysis by the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC).

Defined as companies with at least 10 employees and average annual growth of 20% in employment from 2012 to 2015, the research indicates that a “striking” amount of high growth firms (HGFs) are now based in areas outside of London yet the capital continues to have the largest number of HGFs overall.

Excluding London, England saw its number of HGFs rise by 36% from 5,755 in 2009 to 2012 to 7,855 in 2012 to 2015. Over the same period, the number of HGFs in London rose by just 15%, from 2,105 to 2,430.

On a regional level, Liverpool saw the biggest increase in HGFs – up 56% between 2009 and 2015, from 141 to 220 – while areas in the South East saw more “modest increases”. For instance, Oxfordshire’s number of HGF’s only went up 11% from 110 to 122.

Discussing the data, Professor Mark Hart, deputy director of the ERC, commented:

“The number of HGFs in the UK is now at its highest level in well over a decade and it’s particularly notable that both urban and rural parts of the English regions are seeing much more rapid rises in such firms than London.

“These are exactly the sort of firms we need more of in our economy, because they create a huge proportion of overall jobs relative to their small size in the business population.

“We need to learn the lessons of what’s working to support fast-growing businesses in these areas so we can replicate it more widely.”


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