New enterprises on the decline

BUSINESS start-ups in the county have fallen by more than a quarter in the past six months, according to a Barclays survey.

The bank blames the slowing economy for the sharp downturn in new enterprises.

Kent saw a significant fall, with only around 4,600 businesses set up in the first six months of the year compared to 6,300 in the same period last year. The reduction for Medway was less marked with 900 businesses starting compared with 1,000 last year.

Nationally, the decline was around 20 per cent, the largest fall in the first six months of any year since the mid-1990s.

New figures reveal that 197,100 new firms started up in the first six months of 2005, compared to 246,400 in the same period last year. The South East saw a 23 per cent fall from 39,600 to 30,400.

John Davis, small business marketing director for Barclays, said: "The last couple of years have been phenomenal in terms of start up growth and it would have been difficult to sustain these levels even in the absence of a slowing economy and weaker housing market.

"However, despite more modest economic growth, there are still business opportunities waiting to be seized.

"We must remember though it’s not merely a case of new businesses starting up but ensuring that those businesses go on to be a success."

Business and financial services firms accounted for more than a quarter of start-ups (54,500), with management and business consultancies being the most popular.

Construction and motor trades each accounted for more than 10 per cent of new businesses.

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