Record year for new companies starting up in Nottingham
LIFE is sweet for mother and daughter baking duo Jeaniene Imray and Amy Vyse.
Specialising in wedding cakes, Strawberry Cupcakes has come a long way since Jeaniene began testing recipes in her kitchen after she sold out her treats at a school fete.
Last year the business opened its own shop in West Bridgford.
According to new figures, Jeaniene and Amy are not the only ones embracing the entrepreneurial spirit.
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Last year 3,762 companies were registered in Nottingham – a record number, says company support business Duport.
Jeaniene, of Radcliffe-on-Trent, is not surprised.
"It's not as easy as it seems and you have to put in a lot of hard work and long hours to make it a success – and a lot of people don't understand that – but once you get there it is really great," she said.
"Generally, I think if lots of people are starting up businesses it has to be a good thing because it's the Nottingham economy that's benefiting rather than a big company which might be from elsewhere in the UK or overseas."
The number of new companies was up 6.7 per cent compared to 2011. The national figure was an increase of 8.6 per cent.
Taking into account the 2,342 businesses in Nottingham which dissolved, 2012 saw 1,420 city businesses added to the company register, 388 more than in 2011.
The data includes all types of businesses from one-man vans to bigger firms.
Despite the increase, overall company growth in Nottingham is slightly below the UK average at 40.3 per cent compared with 43.8 per cent.
However, Councillor Nick McDonald, the city council's lead for jobs, skills and business, said the figures were good news for the city.
"If the economy is to grow then it will grow through the starting up of companies, so it's encouraging to see the number of companies in the city is growing," he said.
"Some of this will be recession-led, because in a recession you get more people being made redundant and doing their own thing.
"But I think the rate of growth suggests it's a bit more than that, and that Nottingham is a good place to start a business. As we introduce more and more schemes from our growth plan, I hope we will see an even greater increase across the city. Our challenge now is to make sure these businesses have the support to grow and be successful."
The Nottingham Growth Plan is a collaboration between the public and private sector, which analyses the city economy, highlights the challenges it faces, and identifies the steps all city stakeholders must take to achieve sustainable, long-term growth.
It includes schemes such as the Local Enterprise Zone and Creative Quarter, as well as a £5,000 support package from the University of Nottingham which will groom 100 small businesses for success.
For mum Amanda Waring, 40, of Annesley Woodhouse, who set up Mama Jewels, the support is vital.
She said: "In terms of getting a business off the ground I think it depends what you do. I certainly found it very hard. The first 12 to 18 months is very intense and all-consuming but it is really worth it.
"In a way I'm not surprised by the figures. From my own experience, the job security that there was isn't there any more and people are thinking they want to create their own job security – which is certainly one of the things that was on my mind.
"It can only be a massively positive thing for the economy because of the job situation."
David Ralph, chief executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, also welcomed the increased number of businesses starting up in the area.
He said: "Small businesses are crucial to the economic growth of an area, so the fact that we've seen a record number of new starts in Nottingham over the last year has to be a good thing.
"It shows that in spite of the challenging economic circumstances that have faced Nottingham firms in the last few years, there are still new businesses and jobs being created in the city."