Businesses up 16 per cent in year

L-R: AW Hainsworth's Adam Hainsworth, Johnston Press Yorkshire's Helen Oldham and Leeds City Council's Simon Brereton.

L-R: AW Hainsworth's Adam Hainsworth, Johnston Press Yorkshire's Helen Oldham and Leeds City Council's Simon Brereton.

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One in six businesses in Leeds has been started in the last year, the council’s head of innovation revealed.

Leeds City Council’s Simon Brereton said business growth in the city had significantly outpaced the national average and had also edged out Manchester.

Speaking at yesterday’s Leeds Beckett University Innovation Network event, held in partnership with The Yorkshire Post, Mr Brereton said the council faces challenges over how to help sustain that growth going forward.

He said: “Some amazing things are happening in our city at the moment.

“There was a 16 per cent increase in the number of businesses in Leeds in the last year.

“One in six businesses in Leeds was created in the last year. That’s remarkable.

“That’s twice the growth of the national average, which is about eight per cent increase. Manchester had 13 per cent increase in the same period. But Leeds has had the biggest growth in companies.”

While many predicted the introduction of better broadband and mobile technology would move business out of the city centre, Mr Brereton said the opposite has happened, with knowledge-intensive businesses particularly being drawn together.

The digital sector has seen such growth that it had 600,000 vacancies in July, he added.

Leeds City Council faces challenges over providing the right environment for business growth, from infrastructure to skills.

He said: “It’s really to try and make sure we’ve got the right kind of infrastructure, that we are encouraging people to talk and come together, we’re helping our great universities to supply the great talent that is needed and making sure those opportunities are open for everyone.”