North lagging behind the UK in terms of high-growth enterprises
IN spite of polictical and economic uncertainties the north's entrepreneurial environment remains stable according to new report.
The Entrepreneurs Index from Barclays Wealth and Investment Management shows Northern Ireland holds a 6.4 per cent share of the UK's venture capital funded companies (20), ranking above numerous many other regions. This is despite a drop at a national level in the number of companies receiving funding, and the number of high-growth companies in the UK being at an all-time low.
A total of 21 merger and acquisition deals have taken place in Northern Ireland over the past 12 month, just below the number in Scotland (21), significantly higher than Wales (13), but unsurprisingly far behind England's total of 404.
Both venture capital and private equity funded companies have seen only a slight decrease in number in Northern Ireland since last year's research, each declining by one. Currently, there are 20 venture capital funded companies here, which account for a strong 6.4 per cent share of the UK total and above numerous other regions, including Yorkshire and the Humber, the south west of England, the midlands ,north east, north west , and the East Midlands. However, the value of venture capital investment in Northern Ireland has dropped by a third, to £2 million, from £3 million last year.
In terms of private equity backed companies the north to lag behind and with 20 companies, has the second lowest figure out of all UK regions, eclipsing just the north east. More bad news comes through the fact that over the past twelve months just 36 high-growth enterprises have launched in Northern Ireland, accounting for a modest 0.8 per cent share of high-growth companies nationwide – the lowest in the UK.
Jonathan Sloan from Barclays Wealth and Investment Management Northern Ireland, said there were some positives to be taken from the latest figures.
“It is positive to see that despite uncertain political and economic conditions, Northern Ireland's entrepreneurial landscape remains steady with venture capital and private equity backed companies on a par with last year's numbers."
“The significant drop in venture capital investment will create an increasingly difficult environment for entrepreneurs, which is concerning, as the number of high-growth companies in Northern Ireland appears to be lagging behind other regions.”