The transport and haulage sector was the fastest growing industry in North East England in 2015, with the total number of active companies rising by 25 per cent through the year.
According to new figures from the North East arm of insolvency trade body R3, there were 1,010 active regional companies in the sector in December 2015, an increase of over 200 since the same time the previous year.
Hospitality industries in the region also showed strong signs of expansion during 2015, with the number of active restaurant companies rising by 16 per cent rise to just under 1,500, whilst the number of pub businesses increased by 12 per cent, from 554 to 621.
Despite its clear continuing difficulties, the North East construction sector had 11 per cent more active businesses at the end of 2015 than it did 12 months earlier, with the figure rising from 6,269 to 6,948.
And the important regional manufacturing, technology and retail sectors saw year-on-year increases of eight per cent in the number of firms operating therein, with more than 4,000 active manufacturing businesses across the region, as well as 3,459 retailers and 2,899 tech firms.
The figures also show that the overall number of active companies in the North East has been consistently growing by several hundred every month to reach a total of 69,415 in December 2015.
Every month, R3 uses research compiled from Bureau van Dijk’s ‘Fame’ database of company information to track the number of businesses in key regional sectors that have a heightened risk of entering insolvency in the next year.
As well as being the fastest growing regional industry, the North East transport/haulage sector has also recorded the lowest such risk of any of the 12 UK regions for the tenth consecutive month.
Allan Kelly, chair of R3 in the North East and a partner with RSM, says: “The spirit of ambition and innovation is clearly as strong as it has always been across North East England, and it’s clear that more and more people are taking the opportunity to start their own business, whether through necessity, for example if they have lost their job and decided to create their own livelihood, or because they are pursuing an ambition to run their own business.
“The strong growth in the regional transport sector perhaps reflects the increasing popularity of internet shopping, home deliveries and lower fuel prices, but could also be due in part to the ‘Uber effect’ which has brought a wave of new entrants into the taxi market around Newcastle.
“Similarly in the retail market, internet shopping has broken down the barriers to entry to the sector, making it relatively cheap and easy to start an online store, whilst at the same time bringing greater competition for traditional businesses.
“Hospitality is an ever popular choice for start-ups, but while many people may harbour a dream to own their own pub or restaurant, running a successful establishment is not as easy as it looks and a high proportion of businesses in this sector do run into early difficulties.
“Whatever sector they choose to enter, entrepreneurs need to manage their fledgling businesses very carefully, maintaining a firm grip on their finances and cash flow in particular, and ensuring that their new babies have the best possible chance of standing on their own two feet.”