Business Services

Number of Small Businesses in South West Increases by 6,300 in One Year

The South West continues to be a fertile breeding ground for entrepreneurs, with the number of small businesses in the region increasing by around 6,300.

•    Number of SMEs in South West up 3% to 206,805 in past year
•    Top 3 fastest-growing sectors: pharmaceuticals; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; drinks production
•    Santander Corporate & Commercial brings free Breakthrough Red Box business festival to Exeter from Monday 5 to Friday 9 October
•    Local businesses can sign up to attend the event
The South West continues to be a fertile breeding ground for entrepreneurs, with the number of small businesses in the region increasing by around 6,300 in the 12 months to the end of 2014, up to 206,805, according to analysis of the latest official data1 by Santander Corporate & Commercial.
Its analysis also found the fastest-growing sectors by actual number of new SMEs were the manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations, up 40% year-on-year; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, up 35%; drinks production, up 16%; architectural and engineering activities, up 11%; and security and investigation activities which also increased by 11%.
The largest sectors by number of businesses are crop and animal production with 22,350 SMEs; specialised construction activities with 17,000; and retail trade (except motor vehicles) with 16,655 businesses.
David Bird, Regional Director, South West, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “SMEs in the South West continue to play a key role in the wider UK economy and these figures show this role is becoming ever more significant.  It is great to see the continued development and growth of businesses across a broad range of sectors, from pharmaceuticals to farming.  We believe the South West has the potential to support even stronger growth in its business base.”
Support for regional businesses
To showcase the best of the South West’s SME sector and demonstrate the extensive support which Santander Corporate & Commercial gives to businesses in the region, the bank is running a five-day event with free-to-attend masterclasses and focused events aimed at ambitious business owners and local entrepreneurs.
The Santander Breakthrough Moments Box business festival comes to Exeter on Monday 5 October until Friday 9 October.
The Breakthrough Moments Box is a versatile space for the business community to meet and share ideas and expertise, while a number of local and UK businesses will be on hand to share their own success stories and insights.
Participating firms and organisations include PwC, the Devon and Cornwall Business Council, Exeter University, Michelmores Solicitors, the WESC Foundation, The Lazy Toad, SWIG Finance and UKTI.
Sessions will focus on the benefits of exporting and international trade; innovation via Big Data; best-practice online sales; and the role Corporate Social Responsibility can play in the success of a business.
David Bird, Regional Director, South West, Santander Corporate & Commercial, added: “Santander has been growing its own presence in the South West and we believe that with services such as our Breakthrough product, Trade Portal, and Growth Capital lending programme we are offering a highly differentiated service for businesses. The Santander Red Box Business Festival will be a unique event and will give real value to SMEs who come along and take part.”
Santander Corporate & Commercial increased its net lending to SMEs in the South West by more than 25% in the eight months to August 2015.
Attending the event
The Santander Breakthrough Box event in Exeter is part of a UK tour taking place across 2015 which will see Santander’s Breakthrough Moments Box visit key towns and cities in the UK.
Businesses can book a place at the Exeter event by contacting Joanne Johnson via email joanne.johnson@santander.co.uk.
Further details of the event can be found on the Santander Corporate & Commercial website.
The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.
Notes to editors
About Santander UK: a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its 1|2|3 products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs.  As at 30 June 2015, Santander UK was the most switched to bank, attracting 1 in 4 new retail customers.  The bank serves more than 14 million active customers with c. 20,000 employees and operates through 900 branches and 68 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.
About Banco Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N, BNC.LN): a leading retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas. Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization and among the top 12 banks on a global basis. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.51 trillion in managed funds, 12,910 branches and 190,000 employees at the close of June 2015. In the first half of 2015, Santander made ordinary attributable profit of EUR 3,426 million, a 24% increase.
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