Fringe Box



Claire’s Column – Guildford Companies At An All-time High

Published on: 16 Oct, 2013
Updated on: 16 Oct, 2013
Claire Dee

Claire Dee

In this regular column – a must read for all those interested in Guildford business – Claire Dee discusses how new companies in the town have hit an all-time high, but that’s only half the story.

Latest figures released this month from Duport, reveal that company formations hit an all-time high in Guildford for the first half of 2013.

The Duport Business Confidence Report shows that in the six months to June, 466 new companies formed – more than any other half year in the history of the area and a 6% rise on the same period in 2012.

The report also noted, however, that company closures rose from 289 in 2012 to 319 in 2013, an increase of 10% (considerably higher than the UK average of 5%) leading to a slight drop in net company growth for the town.

Duport managing director, Peter Valaitis, commented: “The record number of company registrations suggests that new businesses see Guildford as an increasingly attractive place to start-up.”

A sentiment echoed by Guildford Borough Council in its latest long-term plan for the town: Guildford Borough Economic Strategy 2013-2031.

“Guildford’s successful economy against a range of indicators has made it a place where businesses want to locate and grow.

“This has benefits for commerce now, and for our aspiring young people and entrepreneurs into the future, to live and work in the borough. We want to see Guildford businesses thrive, innovate and be even more productive.”

Guildford’s draw for companies large and small comes as no surprise to those of us active in the local business community.

Its geographic location – close to London, airports and main road and rail networks – is a huge pull, as are the many academic institutions which provide an enviable talent pool for employers. And, of course, the beautiful surrounding countryside makes the town a great place to live, as does the fabulous retail experience on offer which Experian recently named ‘the luxury shopping capital of the UK’.

All good; but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that while Guildford is a well-known entrepreneurial hub fuelling an insatiable appetite for new business activity, the 10% increase in company closures so far this year cannot be ignored.

Energy in the early days is admirable and should be encouraged, but so should stamina and a vision for long-term sustainable growth.  Rome, after all, wasn’t built in a day.

For the full Duport Business Confidence Report for Guildford see:

Claire Dee runs her own communications consultancy near Guildford and is an active member of the local business community including sitting on the Surrey Chambers of Commerce Council.

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