Harrogate a top spot for new businesses

NADV 1407151AM4 Montpellier Hill. (1407151AM4)
NADV 1407151AM4 Montpellier Hill. (1407151AM4)

Harrogate is ranked higher than many other towns and cities in the UK in a table of locations judged on their ability to create new businesses.

The town has created six new businesses per 10,000 people, compared to 0.8 new businesses nationally, according to research carried out by accountancy networking group UHY Hacker Young.

At 16th in the UK, out of 150 towns and cities included, Harrogate is ahead of major settlements York, Leeds, Sheffield, and Manchester for new business creation, and is smaller than any of the cities ranked above it in the table.

Chief executive of Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce Brian Dunsby puts this success down to Harrogate’s place as a first choice location for business owners and top managers already living in the town.

“The figures revealed in this research are good news for the Harrogate district and reflect what we have observed over many years,” he said.

“The very high standard of education in the local area is a good foundation for encouraging the business leaders of the future, whether they choose to go on to university or enter work straight from sixth form.

“This creates a very positive atmosphere for new businesses and local parents often encourage younger generations to look at entrepreneurship as a viable option for their careers – not just something to turn to if they are out of work.

“When people set up a new business, they often find Harrogate is an ideal place to succeed in their ambitions.”

The top-ranking city is Greater London, which has created 16.1 new businesses per 10,000 people, followed by Slough unitary authority and Milton Keynes.

Blackpool is ranked lowest, having lost a total of 13.4 businesses per 10,000 people.

The score is based on information from 2012 - the most recent information available - and is calculated by counting business openings against business closures.

The figures are being welcomed by Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones, who said: “Out of 150 towns and cities, Harrogate comes 16th in the business creation league beating some major regional economies like Manchester. This is important because business success creates jobs and those jobs are often secure long-term jobs.

“Businesses provide young people with skills through apprenticeships and work experience, and our success at business creation has seen unemployment drop dramatically on a local level.

“The way forward is to ensure these start-ups stay here and grow here and our continuing low unemployment figures are an indication that we are succeeding in that too.”