This Yorkshire city is a hotspot for business start-ups

More than 20 businesses were created every day in Leeds in the first half of 2021 according to the new Small Business Hotspots UK 2021 list, published today by Iwoca, one of Europe’s largest small business lenders.

Across Yorkshire, Leeds was the most popular place to start a business in the region
Across Yorkshire, Leeds was the most popular place to start a business in the region

More than 3,760 businesses were registered in Leeds between January and June 2021 - an increase of 24 per cent from the first half of 2019.

Across Yorkshire, Leeds was the most popular place to start a business in the region and the city saw the highest total number of new firms registered out of all local authorities in the county.

Leeds was followed by Bradford (2,298 new business), North Yorkshire (1,899 new business), Sheffield (1,882 new businesses) and Kirklees (1,669 new businesses).

In sixth place was Doncaster (1,227 new businesses), followed by the East Riding of Yorkshire (989 new businesses), Wakefield (963 new businesses) and Calderdale (843 new businesses.

Hull was in tenth place, but the city saw the region’s sharpest percentage increase in new businesses from 2019 to 2021, rising by 36 per cent from 506 to 785.

Rotherham was in eleventh place (717 new businesses), followed by Barnsley (669 new businesses) and York (623 new businesses).

Yorkshire and the Humber had the sixth highest number of new businesses out of all UK regions, with 19,206. London topped the list with 120,338 followed by the South East (37,573) and North West (33,640).

The total number of businesses registered in the UK during the first half of 2021 was over 340,500, increasing by 32 per cent from 257,243 in the first six months of 2019.

Iwoca said this sharp increase in the number of business registrations points to a rise in entrepreneurship as people reassess their work priorities.

Many people have decided they don’t want to return to working in an office after the pandemic and would rather set up their own business and be their own boss.

A number of people have also decided to ditch the stress of the daily commute to the office.

The number of people on furlough in Leeds fell 62 per cent over the first half of 2021, and by 62 per cent across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Whilst many will have returned to their old jobs, Iwoca said the Companies House data suggests that a significant number have decided to start their own business.

The lender said that the creation of these new businesses will also provide additional job opportunities and may have contributed to the number of vacancies increasing by 96 per cent in the region since the start of the year.

Christoph Rieche, Iwoca CEO and co-founder, said: “It is fantastic to see the creation of so many businesses during the first half of this year.

“They are testament to the entrepreneurial spirit which characterises our vibrant economy.

“Many of these businesses will be unnecessarily constrained by cashflow.

“At Iwoca we turn cashflow into a superpower enabling them to grow faster and worry less. We look forward to working with many of them.”

Iwoca was founded to support micro businesses, which the firm claims are underserved by high street banks and larger lenders.

The lender said it is committed to helping these smaller firms recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Iwoca said it has significantly reduced the time it takes for customers to apply for loans and for the money to be deposited into a bank account. The company’s record for approving a loan is three minutes and 26 seconds.

Iwoca distributed nearly £400m to small businesses through the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and in June 2020, it launched IwocaPay – an online buy now pay later invoice checkout to help small businesses get paid.

The lender is reaching 1.8 million businesses across the UK and Germany through its embedded lending technology, which allows businesses to access loans through a range of platforms such as accountancy software apps and digital neo-banks.

Iwoca has also partnered with Mental Health UK on research to identify the needs of small business owners, and will soon launch a tailored mental health support package.