It has been a difficult few years for small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those based in the North of England.
After all, parts of this region have struggled against the backdrop of austerity and largely reduced infrastructure spending during the last decade, while the ongoing uncertainty triggered by Brexit has served to exacerbate these issues.
Whilst Boris Johnson’s government must look to correct these issues and breathe life into the ambitious vision of a so-called ‘Northern powerhouse’ (which was first envisioned by former Chancellor George Osborne in 2014 and spoke of combining regional economies into a powerful collective force), the North East and Scotland continues to hold potential for entrepreneurs who are looking to launch brand new ventures.
We’ll explore this further below, whilst asking precisely why locations in Scotland and the North of England offer value to aspiring businesses.
1. Accessing Growth and Opportunity in Scotland’s Biggest Cities
The Scottish economy has also struggled slightly in recent times, thanks also to Brexit and ongoing speculation concerning a future independence referendum.
However, the Scottish economy is also diverse and deceptively robust, with these qualities enabling it to grow by 0.3% during the summer after a previous quarterly decline of 0.2%.
This strength can largely be attributed to Scotland’s leading cities such as Glasgow, which is currently recognised as the 15th best location for startups and small business growth in the UK. As with most bustling metropolises, digital transformation is also on the rise in Glasgow, creating a collaborative and growing marketplace for evolving technology firms.
As Glasgow’s business market has become increasingly competitive and the vacancy rate in the city has recently plunged to an all-time low of 9.9%, we’ve also seen the emergence of resources that make it easier than ever to source viable office space in Glasgow. This is great news for entrepreneurs, who can subsequently focus on the more strategic elements of their business operation.
2. Newcastle Continues to Thrive as a Key Growth Engine
South of the border, we’ve also seen significant growth and regeneration in prominent northern cities such as Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds in recent times.
Similar growth has also been reported in the North East hub of Newcastle, which is currently ranked in the top 10 UK city centres for growth in the 21st century. In fact, the city ranked 7th overall for jobs and population growth, creating a dynamic and competitive economy that can sustain long-term business development.
As a result, Newcastle (which was once heavily reliant on heavy-duty manufacturing and played a pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution) is now home to the fourth largest business sector in the North East.
In fact, this contributes an impressive £1.62 billion to the region’s economy, while there’s ample room for new ventures establish themselves and benefit from everything that Newcastle has to offer.
3. Starting Up and Scaling Successfully in the North East
The North East has certainly emerged as a viable home for small businesses in recent times, particularly for startups that want to launch and scale successfully within a relatively short period.
Overall, this region was also home to the fastest growing startup community in the UK during 2018, with the total number of 45,498 small businesses representing an annual increase of 20.8%.
As this trend has developed, we’ve also seen far greater collaboration within the region, while the resources available to help new startups has increased to keep pace with the demand (this is also the case north of the border in Scotland).
This is not only helping to attract entrepreneurs from a more diverse range of industries such as technology, life sciences and digital transformation, but it’s also creating a supportive and highly investable commercial climate that’s increasing ambition within the business base.
This definitely lends itself to continued growth and business expansion, which can be sustained so long as the government continues to invest in regions throughout the North East and in Scotland.