Belfast Telegraph

Boost as entrepreneurs fight recession head-on

By Symon Ross

Entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland appear to be tackling the effects of the recession head-on, with the number of new business startups rising 30% in the fourth quarter of last year.

The latest statistics released by research firm ICC Formations showed that the total number of companies incorporated in the province in the last three months of 2009 was 828, up from 635 in the same period a year earlier.

Overall figures for the year showed that the number of companies formed in 2009 increased by 3% in comparison to 2008 to 3,506 from 3,404.

The last six months were especially strong with the third quarter seeing a 29% increase, with 892 companies formed.

Antrim is the most popular county for company formations and is where 48% of new companies formed are based, followed by Down with 22.4% and Tyrone with 10.8%. All counties experienced increases in the number of companies formed apart from Co Londonderry, which actually saw a substantial decrease of 91.9%.

In another worrying sign for the north-west economy only six companies were formed in the fourth quarter compared with 74 at the same time a year before.

On the upside Co Tyrone saw 152 companies formed, up 145% from 62 in the last three months of 2008.

In total the number of companies formed every month since July 2009 surpassed that of the corresponding period in 2008.

“The number of new companies being incorporated is an important measure of economic performance, both current and future. These figures can be seen as exceptionally encouraging,’’ said head of professional services at ICC Formations, Jon Rock

“After a shaky start, 2009 finished well with two consecutive quarters of positive growth in the number of companies being formed in comparison to 2008.

“In addition to this, the signs of recovery spotted in July have continued with consistent increases every month since.”

Belfast Telegraph