Small businesses were responsible for over half of Northern Ireland’s value-added growth last year, according to a new report.
Northern Ireland relies on small businesses
The Octopus High Growth Small Business Report 2015 looks at how ‘‘Britain’s fastest growing smaller companies can be a force for regional revival.’’
High growth small businesses (HGSBs) are firms that generate more than 20 per cent average annual growth in turnover over a three-year period and with an annual turnover between £1m and £20m. Out of the 5.3 million companies that exist in the UK only 22,470 of them are HGSBs. They can be found in every region of the UK, including Northern Ireland.
Small firms in the reagion were responsible for 56 per cent of the nation’s Gross value added (GVA), which is a measures the value of goods and services being produced by different parts of the economy. According to the report, GVA in Northern Ireland was just under one per cent.
‘Lifeline for growth’
The report argues for the creation of more HGSBs in Northern Ireland, stating that if there was a 25 per cent increase of these small firms in 2014, then economic output would have increased by £122m, as well as creating nearly 3,500 jobs.
‘‘HGSBs are a lifeline for growth and job creation in Northern Ireland, Wales and the North East. Cities such as Belfast, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland, Durham, Cardiff and Swansea have the greatest reliance on HGSBs for local economic growth,’’ stated the report.
Ian Paisley, MP for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), has said that the influence of smaller firms in Northern Ireland cannot be understated.
‘‘Despite making up less than 1% of UK business, they generate an annual turnover of £1.7bn,’’ explained Paisley.
‘‘The report suggests that a 25% increase in HGSBs could provide up to 3,500 jobs, a very significant number that should not be overlooked by our Executive.’’
‘‘I would call on Stormont (Northern Ireland’s parliament) to assess what else the devolved government can do to encourage more HGSBs to choose Northern Ireland as their base, in the interests of regional growth, reducing our deficit and increasing the number of people in full-time employment.’’