FLEDGLING businesses are being formed in the Tees Valley at a rate which has not been seen since pre-recession times.
The number of business start-ups was up by a third in 2013 to 2,620, meaning the area had 16,785 active firms.
Also in the Tees valley area, only 1,720 companies went out of business over the same period.
The statistics were revealed by local enterprise partnership Tees Valley Unlimited in their latest economic review. TVU managing director Stephen Catchpole said: “One statistic that demonstrates how the economy is being revitalised in Tees Valley is the gap opening up between business births and deaths.”
He added: “A fact of life in the business world is that whatever level of help is available – and there is a wealth of business advice and support available from a range of organisations in Tees Valley – some businesses will fail.
“However, looking at the overall picture, the good news is that the business birth rate was 15.6 percent – the highest seen since 2007.
“This rate, the number of business set up during the year divided by the stock of active enterprises, was significantly higher than the UK rate of 14.1 per cent and also was higher than any UK county or region outside London.”
The total number of Tees Valley businesses was up by 775 on 2012 and up by 4.8 percent on the year but Mr Catchpole urged caution.
He said: “While these positive economic indicators show that we, and our stakeholders and partners, are on the right track there is no doubt that more still needs to be done to diversify and grow the Tees Valley’s business base.
“However, I firmly believe that by forging successful partnerships between the public and private sector and making the best use of all our resources and the Government finance available to us we can create the right environment for growing the local economy for the people who live and work here.”
He said the Tees Valley was now seen as a reliable area by the Government “when it comes to devolving powers and funds down to grassroots levels.” The latest example of this was the recent £14m allocation under the Local Growth Fund, including money for Hartlepool.
Mr Catchpole said that, if more powers were devolved, “we are ready and have the confidence and ability to make the best use of them.”