Calls for more support to help start-up businesses

Nigel Mills, chairman of the Entrepreneurs' Forum.
Nigel Mills, chairman of the Entrepreneurs' Forum.

More work should be done to support start-up businesses, officials at a forum have said.

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum has welcomed new figures showing a growth in the number of businesses employing people in the north east, but called for more to be done to support start-ups and growing companies in the region.

The complex Business Population Estimates have shown there has been a fall in the overall number of private businesses in the north east.

However there has been an increase in the number of businesses that employ people, from 37,900 to 38,900; and there has been long-term growth in the number of private sector businesses in the north east, from 123,700 in 2010 to 135,500 in 2015.

Nigel Mills, chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “Digging into these complex statistics shows that, while the headline figure of a reduction in the number of business in the region is disappointing, the broader news for the north east is better, with a strong increase in the number of employing businesses in the region.

“It is particularly pleasing that this upward trajectory is both a short and long-term trend.

“However, we must look at the report as a whole and see it as a warning that more must be done to support small businesses and help them to grow to become the employers of the future.

“We need more businesses employing more people.

“The challenge now is to support such new businesses to get them to the point where they can start to employ people, as we know that all net job growth comes from businesses that are less than five years old.

“Here in the north east, we continue to see entrepreneurs striving to support their peers and start-ups, as part of a wider regional environment that backs enterprise, through a mix of public, private and academic-led programmes.”