The number of SMEs in the North West increased by 4.3 per cent year-on-year to March 2014, which represents around 9,000 new businesses, according to analysis of the latest official data1 by Santander Corporate & Commercial.
Overall, the region now has 215,780 SMEs, with the most in Greater Manchester (78,665) followed by Lancashire (38,345) and Merseyside (30,645).
The North West has always had a very strong base of small and medium-sized businesses and it is great to see the continued development and growth of businesses across a broad range of sectors. I believe the North West has the potential to support even stronger growth in its business base.Damian McGann
The analysis found that the five fastest-growing sectors in the region are business administration; professional, scientific and technical industries ; IT and communications; health ; and transport and storage. In terms of absolute numbers, the top three sectors are now the professional, scientific and technical sector, with 36,050 businesses, followed by construction (24,260) and retail (21,070).
To showcase the best of the North West’s SME sector and also Santander Corporate & Commercial’s extensive support for businesses in the region, the bank is running the Santander Breakthrough Moments Festival across 29 June to 3 July at 2 Spinningfields Square, Deansgate, Manchester M3 3AE.
The five-day event consists of free-to-attend masterclasses and focused events aimed at ambitious business owners and local entrepreneurs.
Microsoft will deliver a masterclass on maximising technology for business growth, while other speakers will include representatives from UKFast, UKTI, Cause4, Bike Right, Salford Business School, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation.
Santander Corporate & Commercial will also use the event to announce a new and innovative £40m fund to invest in local SMEs in partnership with Enterprise Ventures and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.
Damian McGann, divisional managing director for North West, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “The North West has always had a very strong base of small and medium-sized businesses and it is great to see the continued development and growth of businesses across a broad range of sectors. I believe the North West has the potential to support even stronger growth in its business base.”