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Business start-ups steady in 2008

Figures released today by Barclays show that the number of new businesses remained at high levels in 2008, rising from 432,300 in 2007 to 436,600, although activity weakened in the second half.

The estimates also reveal that the total number of businesses increased by 1 per cent to just under 2.9 million firms.

Steve Cooper, local business managing director at Barclays said: "These figures may seem surprising given the current economic climate. There could be a number of reasons for the robust start-up market, including individuals made redundant opting for self-employment. We should also remember that there are always opportunities, even in more challenging times."

In terms of percentage growth women outperformed in comparison to the national average and overtook men. Female-only starts ups increased by 9 per cent to more than 90,000 in 2008 compared to 83,000 in 2007. Male-only start-ups showed a slight increase of less than 1 per cent, to 300,000.

"It appears women more than men are bucking the downturn by starting a business," said Cooper. "We know from our Let's Talk Starting in business seminars that almost half of people attending are women, which is a notably high percentage considering men still make up the majority of all start ups. Perhaps with women showing more interest, we will in the future see equal number of businesses started up by both men and women."

Other highlights from the 2008 start-up figures:

  • At a regional level there were contrasting fortunes, start-up activity increased by 8 per cent in Yorkshire and 6 per cent in the East Midlands. However, the number of businesses started up declined by 6 per cent in Wales and 3 per cent in the South West.
  • There is some indication of the development of the economy over the past year in the business sector pattern of start-ups in 2008. New property service firms fell by 13 per cent and there was an 8 per cent decline in businesses associated with construction. In contrast, start-up activity in the area of health, education and social work increased by more than 13 per cent.

Barclays, is helping businesses who want to set up a business by running more than 500 free events throughout the UK focusing on setting-up, surviving and thriving in this climate.



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