It is very encouraging to hear that there has been an increase in the number of new start up businesses across Northern Ireland during the past 12 months. This is the 9th consecutive year that this has been the case, before this there had a been a marked period of decline for around 6 years, so things are definitely on the up as fresh entrepreneurs seek to make their mark in the business world.
The Services Sector Is By Quite A Stretch The Largest Sector
According to figures gleaned from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) the volume of businesses registered for VAT or PAYE rose 0.4% over the year up to March. This totalled 79,235 businesses (most of them are classified as micro businesses as they have less than 10 employees). The services sector is by quite a stretch the largest sector here in Northern Ireland with 55% of all businesses falling into this category.
Figures For The Number Of Registered Businesses
The NISRA are quoted in an article by John Mulgrew in the Belfast Telegraph, saying of these figures:
“Newry, Mourne and Down saw the largest increase in the number of registered businesses operating in the area (200 or 2.2%) over the year to 2023, while Causeway Coast and Glens saw the largest decrease (120 or 1.9%) over the same period,” NISRA said.
“Belfast remained the district council area with the most businesses (11,300), accounting for 14% of all VAT and/or PAYE registered businesses operating in Northern Ireland in 2023.
“The number of registered businesses operating in Northern Ireland, owned by an enterprise registered outside of Northern Ireland, accounted for 2.6% of the business population and almost one-quarter (23%) of employees.
“Non-NI owned businesses increased by 15% (or 275 businesses) over the five years to 2023. The total number of employees working within these enterprises increased slightly (1.6% or 2,850) over the same period.”
Entrepreneurs taking risks and building up their businesses have always been considered one of our strengths in Northern Ireland and long may that continue, we need people who are willing to put themselves on the line and forge new enterprises which lead to more job creation and economic growth.
But although the economy continues to grow there is a concern that a combination of rising interest rates and political stalemate at Stormont is holding back the further progress that could be made, which is a real shame and something that will hopefully be rectified in the coming months.