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North named as UK’s entrepreneurial hotspot

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A micro-business ‘powerhouse’ has emerged in the north of England during the pandemic, with a sharp jump in entrepreneurs launching new ventures.

That’s the conclusion of a new review of the UK’s micro-business landscape from web hosting firm GoDaddy.

A micro-business is one with fewer than 10 employees, and the north has seen a spate of launches over the last year.

GoDaddy pointed to a ‘northwest gateway’ from Stafford and Telford in the Midlands to Cheshire ‒ which saw new ventures jump by a whopping 65%. This was followed by the Manchester-Liverpool corridor, which played host to a jump of 57% of new small businesses and east Lancashire, an area in which there was a jump of 36% in new ventures.

In fact, the five areas with the biggest increases in this entrepreneurial activity are all found within the north of England or Scotland, while over the country as a whole there has been a 20% rise in micro-business launches.

The opportunities of going online

James Eadie, senior director of brand marketing at GoDaddy, pointed out that despite the challenges of a pandemic, smart entrepreneurs had seen the potential offered by going online and taking advantage of our growing reliance on ecommerce.

This was echoed by Hannah Essex, co-executive director of the British Chambers of Commerce, who added: “The stories we’ve heard from around the UK are ones of businesses not just turning to digital adoption for survival in the pandemic, but proactively making moves in ecommerce that will turn into lasting innovations for them.”

What does the future hold for jobs?

There’s no escaping the fact that the pandemic has been an incredibly difficult time for workers of all stripes. Though official unemployment figures have fallen, there are doubts over how reliable this is given the substantial support measures still in place. 

And while GoDaddy’s study points to the opportunities that can come from being self-employed and starting your own business, there’s no doubting many people in this position are struggling. A study by the Labour party suggested that one in five self-employed workers expect to be forced out of business, while the Federation of Small Businesses has forecast that record numbers of small businesses will close this year.

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