Entrepreneurs target growth

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Yorkshire’s new businesses are meeting and beating their targets, but there are still too few young entrepreneurs, according to new research.

Leading Sheffield-based independent accountants Barber Harrison & Platt and lawyers Nabarro joined forces with the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels to survey 100 entrepreneurs across Yorkshire and Humber.

Results of their Regional Entrepreneurs Survey were unveiled this morning at a seminar in Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, organised as part of MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival.

The survey shows three quarters of the entrepreneurs hit or exceeded their revenue growth targets during the last 12 months and are expecting to grow by at least 10 per cent in the coming year, with one in four expecting growth to exceed 50 per cent.

New businesses are mainly using their own cash to fund their development, with banks and other funders providing finance for only one in four of the companies surveyed.

The survey also shows how few young entrepreneurs there are across the region.

Of the 100 company owners interviewed only one was under 25 years old and two thirds were aged 35 to 54.

Almost all the owners were men, three out of four employed fewer than five people and four out of five firms saw opportunities limited to the UK.

Andrea Cropley, corporate partner and head of regional strategy at Nabarro, said: “The Yorkshire and Humber Region is home to many self-motivated owner managers who have continued to grow organically and who are generally optimistic about their futures. However, the region faces some serious challenges if entrepreneurial effort is to be the bedrock of its economic future.

“The region may need to reset its sights, focus internationally and embrace more comprehensive external finance solutions.

“We don’t believe that there is a shortage of ideas, but evidence suggests that hard to access, expensive funding is stifling the drive and ambition of the younger generation.”

Lisa Leighton, head of entrepreneurial advisory services at BHP, said: “The survey clearly illustrates the fact that a small proportion of entrepreneurs obtain funding from what should be obvious routes. Only 16 per cent have received investment from external investors – and that includes family and friends.

YABA’s Andrew Burton said he was disappointed that only one per cent of companies had obtained funds from angel investors.