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Leeds leads for SMEs as enterprises provide £2 billion boost

  • SMEs to generate 4,000 jobs each year and £1.9 billion boost
  • Leeds third in the country for SME prospects
  • Low business rates and property prices, airport and transport links and the enterprise zone driving SME growth

Leeds numbers among the UK’s top three cities for small and medium enterprise (SME) prospects, a new report by Capital Economics has found – with SMEs to drive a further £1.9 billion in annual output in the city by 2020.

The number of SMEs in Leeds has already increased by 6,000 since 2010, helping to generate 16,000 new jobs, the report – commissioned by proudly Leeds-based npower Business – found.

The city’s relatively low business rates and property prices, airport and transport links and enterprise zone will all help stimulate further SME growth, creating an impressive 4,000 jobs each year by 2020. Growth could be improved even further if the city boosted the number of skilled workers and there was greater working age population growth, the authors noted.

The report highlighted that the top 15 UK cities with the best growth prospects for SMEs will generate £16 billion for the UK economy each year by 2020. SMEs currently provide jobs for a stunning 16.8 million people – over 50 percent of all UK employment.

Philip Scholes, Head of npower Business, said: “I am excited to see Leeds in the top three cities for SME prospects, particularly as we have offices in the city. SMEs have underpinned a vibrant local economy and as this research shows, there is great opportunity for them to grow even further. At npower Business, we are dedicated to working closely with Leeds’ SMEs to help support the huge contribution that they make to the economy.”

Dale Murray, CBE & Board Advisor at the Centre for Entrepreneurs: “Leeds should be proud to be ranked in the top three cities nationally. There are fantastic opportunities in this city for entrepreneurs to start new businesses and to expand existing ones, as this report shows.

She added: “Affordable business rates, living conditions and workforce skills are all crucial to attracting SMEs. I hope that policy makers continue to do everything that they can to build on the current momentum, so that SMEs continue to thrive in the city.”

npower Business and Dale Murray will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday 14 September at 11am to share detailed results from the report with SMEs and help them take advantage of growth opportunities. To find out more about the webinar please visit here.

About npower Business
npower Business is one of the leading energy suppliers to the UK business market, serving gas and electricity to more than 195,000 small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs). 

Dedicated to helping UK SMEs, by helping our customers better understand and manage energy, we help them to reduce their energy costs and in turn improve their bottom line.

We’re in touch with more than 1000 SMEs and through them, we hear what business owners want from their energy company and the issues they face when running a business.

npower Business is part of npower Group

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About Dale Murray
After an early corporate career, Dale co-founded Omega Logic, a technology "solution provider" that co-launched prepay mobile phone top-ups in the UK in 2001. She sold her company and began investing in startups, winning the British Angel Investor of the Year in 2011.

She now holds a number of board positions in the public and private sector and was honoured with a CBE in June 2013 by HM the Queen, for services to business. She served on the Business Taskforce for David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, in 2013 for a report on EU Red Tape. Debretts named her one of the "500 most influential people in Britain" in 2015.