Small businesses failing early on?


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THE number of businesses launching in North Somerset has risen, but a charity is warning that a third of them will not survive to see their second birthday.

New figures from the Office of National Statistics show 1,180 new businesses were set up in North Somerset last year – eight per cent more than in 2013 – yet, at the same time, 795 businesses closed.

But the North Somerset Enterprise Agency (NSEA), which runs the Hive in Weston-super-Mare, says support is available for businesses in the district and its figures are more positive.

The agency provides financial and practical advice for people setting up small businesses.

It helped 159 businesses between April 2014 and March this year and 132 made it past their first birthdays. NSEA’s chief executive, Angela Hicks, said: “The more advice people take about setting up the more successful they are likely to be. It’s important to get it right at the beginning and not get stuck two or three years down the line.

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“It’s important people don’t wait to seek advice until they are in trouble.”

But Business Debtline – a charity run by the Money Advice Trust – says there is still a ‘support gap’ which means business owners are not well enough equipped.

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The Money Advice Trust’s chief executive, Joanna Elson, said: “The news that 1,180 new businesses were set up in and around North Somerset last year is hugely welcome.

“Small businesses are powering the current economic recovery and we all need them to have every possible chance of succeeding.

“Unfortunately there is a real support gap for people setting up a business – many of whom have a terrific business idea but don’t necessarily have the skills, information and coaching they need to make a go of it.

“The sad truth is that 24 per cent of new businesses in North Somerset do not make it to their second birthday. Not every business can succeed, but some are going under due to missteps that could be avoided with the right support early on.”

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