NEW businesses are booming with Gloucester – 875 new companies were set up in a year.
It marks a 10 per cent rise in business start ups and was the highest number of start ups on record for the city, according to a business confidence report from Duport.co.uk.
David Thomason, and his partner Claire Baber, are two of Gloucester’s latest self-starters, reopening the Northend Vaults pub, in Northgate Street, earlier this month.
David, 27, spent 11 years working in recruitment before deciding to try something new by going into the pub trade.
The dream was made a reality thanks to a £20,000 start up grant from Virgin and £10,000 of his own savings. He admitted it was a ‘big gamble and a little scary’ but added: “The pub trade is all new to me after 11 years in recruitment.
“A lot of tourists come to Gloucester and there has been a lot of investment in he Docks. This end of the city is next and is definitely on the up.
“Enterprise has given me a lot of backing and training.
“It took a bit of time to put my business plan together, but Virgin and Enterprise will help with my marketing and mentoring to give me the support needed.”
Catherine Green, a partner at the Gloucester branch of WSP Solicitors and a leading businesswoman in the county, said: “One of the reasons we set up here in Gloucester is because it is a great place for new business start ups. It is the place to be in the county.
“I am seeing this when I am going around the area speaking with people. There are a lot of people setting up here whether they are going into a second career or they are starting out with a new idea.
“There is a huge variety in the different types of businesses starting up. People are attracted to Gloucester because there is a lot of investment taking place and there are good levels of support for start ups.”
WPS Solicitors, based in London Road, play host to Enterprise Clubs, run by Gloucestershire Enterprise. The sessions offer vital advice for start ups.
The Duport.co.uk report shows that 2013 was the fifth consecutive year in which company formation numbers have risen in Gloucester, suggesting that business confidence has remained fairly resilient in the wake of the financial crash.
However, the report also shows there was a 12 per cent increase in company closures last year, which implies that trading conditions are still tough in some sectors.
Peter Valaitis, managing director of Duport.co.uk, said: “Our report shows a mixed bag of results for Gloucester. The record number of company formations is fantastic news for the local economy, but the rise in closures reminds us that some firms are not managing to stay afloat under current economic conditions.”