Belfast Telegraph

High growth firms in Northern Ireland 'on the rise' says Barclays report

By David Elliott

The number of companies in Northern Ireland classed as "high growth" has soared over the last year, according to a new report from Barclays.

One in five companies here fall in to that category – mid-sized small and medium sized enterprises recording a hike in turnover of 33% in the past three years – a 19% jump on the 2012 and, encouragingly, just below the UK average.

On the downside, the number of businesses here fell in the last year by 1.2% with 66,685 registered as 'enterprises'. Northern Ireland and Wales are the only two regions in the UK to have seen enterprise numbers fall, although Belfast has seen a slight increase of 40 businesses over the year.

When it comes to private equity interest, there was a 43% fall in the number of active, growing companies in Northern Ireland who sold shares in their firms, something Barclays said reflected a "lower level of private equity activity in Northern Ireland compared to Great Britain or Northern Ireland entrepreneurs simply waiting for more favourable conditions to sell."

Jonathan Dobbin, Head of Wealth and Investment Management NI, Barclays, said that, overall, the findings from the Barclays and BGF Entrepreneurs Index report offers a boost.

"It is very encouraging to see such a significant increase in the proportion of high-growth companies in the past year across Northern Ireland," he said.

"Although the number of Northern Ireland companies recording share sales in the past year has fallen, we continue to see very positive signs of strong entrepreneurial activity."

Andy Gregory, a Regional Director from BGF, was optimistic.

"Northern Ireland has had a tough economic ride over the past few years but it is encouraging to see that the number of high growth companies is on the rise. There is clearly room for improvement but business owners in Northern Ireland certainly have the ambition to expand," he added.

Belfast Telegraph