Countryside business boom as almost 100,000 new rural firms launched

The countryside economy was in ‘good health, generating billions for the economy and supporting millions of jobs’, experts said.

Henry Saker-Clark
Monday 14 August 2023 00:01 BST
Improvements in technology have allowed for more businesses to be launched in remote areas of the country, experts said (Danny Lawson/PA)
Improvements in technology have allowed for more businesses to be launched in remote areas of the country, experts said (Danny Lawson/PA)

Nearly 100,000 small business have been launched across rural areas of the UK over the past 12 months, according to research.

An increase in women and older founders have helped to drive the boom in new firms across the countryside, according to GoDaddy’s Venture Forward research initiative.

It comes after many Britons moved out of large cities during the pandemic due to increased home working and better value housing.

The latest data from more than 2.3 million British microbusinesses – firms with fewer than 10 employees – has revealed that that 25.9% of Britain’s microbusinesses are now based rurally, up from 24.1% a year ago.

It comes after 94,464 new start-ups were launched in rural areas over the past 12 months, according to the research.

Experts at GoDaddy said improvements in technology have allowed for more businesses to be launched in more remote areas of the country.

The figures also showed that the rise has been buoyed by women entrepreneurs.

In 2022, 33.1% of rural entrepreneurs were female, which has jumped to 43.6% this year. This compares with 35% of urban microbusinesses being run by female founders.

The data also showed that rural entrepreneurs are also older than their city-based counterparts.

Around a quarter (26%) of urban microbusiness owners are over 50, which jumps to 39% for those running rural businesses.

While in the past, commerce and enterprise was associated with major urban hubs, advancements in technology and online tools mean businesses can be easily started from anywhere

Andrew Gradon, GoDaddy UK & Ireland

Andrew Gradon, head of GoDaddy UK & Ireland, said: “This data demonstrates a sizeable shift we are seeing in Britain’s microbusiness community.

“While in the past, commerce and enterprise was associated with major urban hubs, advancements in technology and online tools mean businesses can be easily started from anywhere.

“Venture Forward suggests that the countryside economy is in good health, generating billions for the economy and supporting millions of jobs.

“However, the cost-of-living crisis is an ongoing concern and rural businesses have been hit by rising costs just like their urban counterparts have.”

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