When it comes to major UK cities, none has the entrepreneurial bug more than Newcastle, with 55.8% of people from the city saying they would consider starting their own business.
So, what’s the secret?
Stephen Patterson, Director of Communications for Business Improvement District Company NE1 Ltd, told us: “Newcastle has always been a hot bed of talent and innovation – it led the last industrial revolution with world changing innovations like the electric lightbulb and the locomotive. This innovative spirit never went away and today is manifesting itself in a strong entrepreneurial drive that runs through the city and the north east and provides a fertile ground for new and highly successful new business start ups.
“Newcastle and the North East is synonymous with a ‘can do’ attitude – culturally we have a strong work ethic and a work hard/play hard mentality, this coupled with the geography of the city offers an ideal environment for new businesses. Newcastle is a small, close knit city and business community and it is very easy to network and to do business.”
This close-knit community is backed up by a buoyant business support network.
The Business and Intellectual Property Centre is based in the City Library and offers budding businesses the benefit of expert advice, a space to work and meet clients and, importantly, the chance to pick the brains of people who have already set up their own businesses.
In 2017, almost 10,000 businesses used its meeting facilities, and there were almost 200 ‘experts in residence’ offering one-to-one sessions covering everything from HR to PR.
John Musham, Business and IP Centre manager, said: “Those are the activities that are valuable to people who might traditionally turn away from setting up a business. I think it enables them to see that there’s help available and that it is accessible.”
This support network also involves reaching out into the community and encouraging ‘grassroots’ enterprise, whether that be startup businesses or groups wishing to take over (or introduce new) local services.
Mr Musham says that many modern businesses have set up online – but stressed that the real-world face-to-face experience that can be shared at the likes of the Business and IP Centre is still essential to help these digital companies to flourish.