AMID media headlines of insolvency, administration and bankruptcy on the UK High Street, there is at last some upbeat news for Yorkshire businesses.
New figures have revealed that despite Brexit and a raft of well-publicised financial challenges facing the economy, the number of companies in Yorkshire grew by almost 9,000 during 2019.
Research from R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body, has shown that between January 2019 and January 2020, there were almost 8,600 new businesses established in Yorkshire.
In the previous 12 months (January 2018 to January 2019), against a backdrop of insolvency worries, the number of Yorkshire businesses had slumped by 40.
This latest Yorkshire upsurge almost mirrors the increase of nearly 9,800 businesses between 2017 and 2018, although it still lags well behind the boom year of 2016 when almost 18,600 businesses launched in Yorkshire.
In January 2020, the insolvency research found that the number of active businesses in Yorkshire reached almost 231,000.
This marks a Yorkshire rise of more than 19 per cent since January 2016, and just failing to match the UK-wide average of 20 per cent during the same period.
Consumer-facing businesses showed the strongest growth. Between January 2019 and 2020, the number of restaurant businesses in Yorkshire rose by 10.1 per cent, hotels in Yorkshire increased by 6.7 per cent, retailers in Yorkshire grew by 5.3 per cent and pubs in Yorkshire swelled by 5.1 per cent.
R3 insolvency analysts suggested that in the face of pessimism over the last year amid Brexit uncertainty and the global downturn, it was good to see that the number of start-ups in Yorkshire was on the rise, and off-setting those businesses becoming insolvent and entering administration.
The Yorkshire business media quoted this from the insolvency report: “The Yorkshire region has long been celebrated for its entrepreneurial spirit and it’s great that this appears to be alive and well, with thousands of new businesses being launched in the region in the last 12 months.
“It is vital that dynamic business people feel able to take the leap and embark on a new enterprise; Yorkshire and the North must capitalise on its innovation and grit in order to create new jobs and drive the local economy.
“However, it is well-known that the first few years of trading are often the most precarious for a new business – extensive research should be undertaken before launching a new venture, including rigorous financial forecasting, as along with ensuring that sufficient funding is in place.
“If, however, the fledgling business does run into trouble, remember that there are experts on hand who are able to offer advice and support; insolvency professionals have the skills to play a key role in helping business recovery as long as they are involved at an early stage.”
Underlining these financial challenges, R3 has warned in separate research that Yorkshire High Street retail businesses are at an elevated risk from insolvency than the UK average.
There are currently more than 10,400 active shops in Yorkshire and The Humber, of which nearly 4,400 are considered to be at higher than normal risk of insolvency.
The types of Yorkshire shops facing the biggest insolvency challenges are home furnishings stores, followed by shoe shops, clothing stores, motor retailers, market stalls and book shops.
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