The UK is a more entrepreneurial place these days, the evidence is coming in thick and fast. Now Barclays has chipped in with more evidence. But not all is rosy, or so suggests the latest Barclays Entrepreneurs Index.
“It is a good time for UK entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses,” suggests the Barclays report. A sub-index, the UK’s entrepreneurship environment index, hit 113.4, which is another way of saying ‘its highest reading since 2011,’ which is as far back as this particular index goes. 'Better access to finance and skills, and also more gradual improvements in regulation, and research and innovation' have all been boosting the index, suggested Barclays.
And overall, the UK entrepreneurial performance is at an all-time high – up 10 per cent since 2011, showing strong progress and recovery following a decline in 2014.
But the number of start-ups fell four per cent over the year, and the growth in the proportion of high growth companies slowed marginally. There is one more caveat, the report takes us up to June 2016 – in other words, it is pre-Brexit.
Returning to good news, there was an increase in entrepreneur exits. Drilling down, there was a 19% rise in the number of M&As of companies less wthan five years old, with a record number of deals from December 2015 to June 2016 – up 33%.
The UK services sector led the way, it saw the highest proportion of deals in the UK in the year to June 2016, accounting for 23% of all deals taking place. Financial services, with 10% of deals, clinched the silver medal slot, and in joint third place, each accounting for seven per cent of deals, was industrial products and services and computer software.
On the other hand, the year to June saw a 36% fall in IPO activity of 0-5-year-old enterprises, which Barclays says indicates that there could be 'a lack of confidence in companies to expand, along with increasing market volatility.'
The period also saw venture capital expansion investment jump six per cent; the report suggested that this may have provided a driver of another key development, namely 0.7 per cent rise in the percentage number of high-growth companies within the SME population. This was indeed good news, as last year saw a 21 per cent fall in this area.
Looking at a regional breakdown, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber saw the highest number of scale-ups, but both Scotland and Wales saw a fall in the number of scale-ups.
The construction sector created the most high-growth companies, followed by business services, agriculture, retail and customer services, which were all above the UK average.