Burnley ‘best in North West’ for business growth potential

Bunrley Centre as seen from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal bank.'Photo Ben Parsons
Bunrley Centre as seen from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal bank.'Photo Ben Parsons

We are the champions

Research by data analysts Experian has identified Burnley as one of the best in the North West for business growth potential with over one quarter of companies in the town identified as “high growth champions”.

Commissioned by the BBC, the research places Burnley top in Lancashire and second place in the North West overall for the proportion of businesses with good growth prospects for the future.

One of Burnley’s “high growth champions” is the nationally and internationally acclaimed Moorhouses Brewery which has just announced a 100% increase in sales on this time last year.

David Grant, Managing Director of Moorhouse’s, said: “I was delighted but not surprised at this news. We as a business take decisions based upon confidence in our product; confidence in the market; confidence in the town and in our ability to attract investment. When the time came to make that decision, despite difficult economic conditions, we pushed forward. Now we have doubled our workforce, trebled our capacity and have seen a 22% increase in turnover in the past four months.”

Of the 4,000 companies in Burnley 542 businesses were identified as “high growth champions”. These are defined as young and small-but-rapidly-growing firms with directors that show an international outlook, entrepreneurial skill, an appetite for business risk.

Paul Mayson, who launched Burnley-based Maysons Solicitors in January 2011, said: “It is not by chance that Burnley’s economic indicators are pointing in the right direction. There is a great belief coupled with determination to improve matters and drive forward – from both the council and local business community. The participation in the Burnley Bondholder scheme by local enterprises of all shapes and sizes proves the point. The confidence which this has generated is infectious and this in itself presents the greatest advantage of being part of a flourishing town like Burnley right now. We’ve seen figures exceed all projections and are currently looking to recruit a further two commercial lawyers; an indication of our increasing workload.”

The research by Experian looked at evidence for growth from 2010 to 2012 in every local authority area in England. As well as business-led growth the research also looked at export-led growth and sector-led growth to map the potential for significant economic recovery.

Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive of Burnley Council, said: “As a council we aim to be the most business-friendly in the North-West, investing in huge strategic economic investments and working side-by-side with the private sector through innovative networks like the Burnley Bondholder Scheme. As a town we aim to be the best in the North West for economic growth: to promote our world-class engineering and manufacturing, expand our operating markets and competitiveness: it is the private sector who champions this message more than anyone else.”

The BBC data comes on the back of research by think tank Centre for Cities that listed the town number one in the country for proportion of employment in manufacturing and in the top 10% for growth in patent applications: a recognised indicator of innovation.

Tim Maddison, Managing Director of T & R Precision Engineering, said: “Our company is one of many that feed into an internationally recognised supply chain for the aerospace industry. Quite simply this is an area of engineering excellence, but crucially, it is also an area investing in developing a future workforce.”

“Our workforce has increased by 10% in the last year: a sign that we are supporting the Government’s aim to rebalance the economy towards the manufacturing sector and a further sign of positive growth prospects in the local economy.”