Home Business News Beside the seaside: Coastal towns at heart of UK microbusiness boom

Beside the seaside: Coastal towns at heart of UK microbusiness boom

by LLB staff reporter
23rd May 24 9:11 am

Coastal towns including Felixstowe, Bournemouth, Sidmouth and Bexhill-on-Sea are at the heart of a UK microbusiness boom, new data reveals.

The findings come from Venture Forward, an international research initiative from GoDaddy that analyses data from more than half a million digital microbusinesses, typically defined as having 10 employees or fewer, with a unique domain and an active website.

GoDaddy calculates a ‘microbusiness density’ score for every UK constituency, mapped against each 100 residents.

Suffolk Coastal – within which Felixstowe is the largest town – is the sixth fastest growing area of the country overall, and saw 54% growth in its microbusiness density score. This is more than ten times the average UK growth rate of 5%.

Bournemouth West (+29%), East Devon which contains Sidmouth (+23%) and Bexhill and Battle (+23%) also far outstripped the national average and feature in the top 20 highest climbers. Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight, Totnes, and Portishead in North Somerset all saw substantial growth of +13%, as did St Austell and Newquay (+11%).

Contrastingly, however, entrepreneur communities in coastal towns in the north of England and Wales grew at a far slower rate, hinting at a north-south ‘seaside divide’. Blackpool South (+2.7%), the Vale of Clwyd which contains Rhyl (+2.7%), Scarborough and Whitby (+2.1%) and Morecambe and Lunesdale (+2.1%) all saw modest growth, while Greater Grimsby had a -1% contraction.

Catherine Hickman, Felixstowe, is one of these coastal entrepreneurs and founded her organic skincare business, fanatical botanical, last year, “I developed an interest in clean skincare when medical treatment meant that my skin became too sensitive for regular products. I’ve been making my own for the past decade and, following a redundancy, decided to take the leap and develop it into a business. I’ve kept a part-time job as a specialised horticulturalist to raise capital for scaling its operations.

Felixstowe has a strong community spirit; people believe in shopping local and supporting small businesses. The craft fairs and markets in Felixstowe helped get my business off the ground and in December I launched my website to support the next phase. My business is continuing to grow and I’ve just secured three local stockists to distribute my range of natural skincare products.”

Andrew Gradon, Head of GoDaddy UK & Ireland, said: “The UK’s small business community is in good health and we’ve seen growth in microbusiness density in most parts of the country. Many iconic coastal towns have been at the heart of this boom.

“The trend is particularly pronounced in the south of England, as people have moved out of London post-Covid. However, seaside towns in northern areas have not fared as well. With the rapid advancements in technology and tools to help entrepreneurs set up websites quickly and efficiently, we hope to see the north-south seaside divide start to close in the near future.”

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