A group of high potential SMEs in the South West has generated £2.8bn of turnover growth in the last three years and represents the third highest proportion of growing businesses in the UK, according to new research by BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor.
The research calculates growth in turnover and employees among the UK’s private companies with revenues between £3m and £150m, a category of 13,286 businesses nationwide, 937 of which are based in the South West.
These businesses have experienced a combined turnover growth of 14%. More than 76% of these high potential businesses based in the South West grew their turnover in the last three years, the third highest proportion in the UK.
These companies have also driven an eight per cent increase in employment, creating 13,443 new jobs in the region over the last three years.
Ned Dorbin, an investor at BGF, said: “We have known for a long time that entrepreneurship is growing with great strength in the South West and it is fantastic to see this report evidencing that, providing unique insight for the first time into the progress of the businesses based here.
“These companies have demonstrated activity, productivity and growth, and it’s more important than ever that we safeguard that potential by giving them the support needed to accelerate. Unlocking capital to fast-track the growth of businesses like these can have a major impact on industry, the economy and society.”
- Bristol has driven growth in the South West, with 86 businesses generating £130m combined revenue growth and more than two-thirds of SMEs in the city increasing their turnover in the past three years
- Cornwall has the largest proportion of hiring companies in the UK with 77% of the 66 businesses based in the county actively hiring since 2015
- Devon holds 171 of these high potential businesses, four-fifths of which have experienced revenue growth over the last three years (83%). 85% of the 50 Exeter-based businesses grew their turnover in this period
- 120 businesses in this group based in Wiltshire grew their combined workforce by 12% over the last three years, with more than two-thirds taking on new staff
The data has been released as part of BGF’s ‘Ready for Business’ campaign, which will see BGF confidently advocate for continued growth, committing to entrepreneurs and investing in the age of uncertainty.
Phil Smith, managing director of Business West, which runs the Chambers of Commerce in Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, said: “SMEs are vital to local economies and we have found that those on our patch tend to be innovative, will consider international markets, and, significantly, they create high-quality jobs.
“Their aspirations are high but while they are ambitious about their growth, SMEs continue to face major challenges – particularly around access to talent. They also want access to support for innovation from public sector funding and local universities.
“The South West offers fertile ground for SMEs, as is reflected in the BGF research. Business West, ably supported by public programmes, corporate supporters and engaged universities, is pleased by the spotlight that BGF is shining on this vital part of our local economy.”