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Substantial rise in start-ups

Barclays has unveiled new figures showing a substantial rise in the number of budding entrepreneurs opening their doors for the first time.

Estimates show that 110,300 new businesses started up in the first quarter of 2006, nearly 25 per cent more than in the same period last year - the second strongest first quarter on record since Barclays started tracking the market in 1988.

However, there was a year-on-year increase of nearly 50 per cent in business closures - 111,200 in the first quarter of this year.

Says John Davis, Marketing Director for Local Business at Barclays: “A strong cyclical rebound in people starting a business has occurred in the first quarter but, despite the high levels, the trading conditions for small business are still quite tough.

“We expect a more widespread improvement in small business trading conditions to occur later in 2006 and into 2007 as the current economic conditions pick up, providing improving opportunities for more individuals to set up and grow their business.”

Other highlights of the survey include:

• 20,600 women started a business in the first quarter of 2006, compared to 16,700 for the same period last year.

• Property services led the way, with start volumes around 43 per cent higher than the first quarter of last year.

• The West Midlands and south east saw the greatest percentage increase in the first quarter of 2006 for people starting up in business, compared to the same quarter in 2005 (34 per cent and 29 per cent respectively).

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