Go North to find the next entrepreneurs

The North has emerged as the area most likely to produce the next generation of entrepreneurs, according the latest round of analysis that once again highlights the region as a key business hub.

Business data experts looked at the latest government figures which showed that that the total register size for businesses in the UK was over 4.7 million after more than a year of furlough uncertainty drove many to starting out on their own.

They examined Google search volumes centred on what skills are needed to launch a start-up as well as into which cities are seeing the highest growth of those acting on them.

They found that people are making 154,300 searches per month looking for courses centred on launching their own enterprise. More than 65,000 of these searches were generated by people based in the North.

Cap-Hex: Luke and Andy

While Chester was revealed as the city with the most aspiring entrepreneurs, Edinburgh, Leeds and Sheffield followed closely behind, according to the on-demand call answering customer services group, alldayPA.

Other findings suggest that people living there are more likely to search for what types of skills are needed to start a small business.

Many budding CEOs have also invested in their education by signing up to short-term courses run by universities in Manchester and Leeds. Others have attended webinars and talks led by successful business leaders who have shared industry tips that have helped them look into investors, bank loans, and recruitment.

But not everyone chose to go back to school. In fact, among those that emerged during the study were some who don’t have business qualifications.

One was the street fashion brand, Hex MCR, which is already catching the eye of well-known names such as footballer Danny Simpson, Sigma’s Joe Lenzie and Love Island’s Callum Jones. Hex, co-founded by thirtysomething construction workers Luke Powell and Andy Gibson, started trading online in October 2020, offering a selection of Hex hats on their website.

We also believe that customer experience is crucial, which is why we send orders in premium packaging

The Manchester pair received such high demand for their trucker caps that they decided to expand the collection to include an eco-friendly line, including clothing and bags, for its official launch.

The business has only been trading for six months and has already experienced a 400 per cent increase in sales from month one to month five thanks to its initial interest from celebrities and influencers.

The rising entrepreneur league table

“We’d been discussing starting a clothing business together for some time,” said Luke. “We noticed streetwear had been growing in popularity, and lockdown only accelerated the demand for athleisure clothing to chill, work-out and work in, so, despite the economic uncertainty, we decided to take the plunge.”

Andy said: “Seeing footballers, reality TV stars and other celebrities wearing Hex MCR products has been a huge confidence boost. We wanted to create an authentic, premium brand with humble, urban origins, and we feel that’s what makes the products attractive—simply, the brand is relatable. We also believe that customer experience is crucial, which is why we send orders in premium packaging; even when you’re shopping online, there is still an experience to be had.”

Gareth Jeffery, Head of Customer Services at alldayPA, said:“Looking at this data, we can see that people have been inspired to launch their own businesses across the country. As a result, people have been able to find new jobs and work in industries in which they can thrive.”