'Oh I do like to run a business beside the seaside': Coastal towns enjoy micro-business boom

'Oh I do like to run a business beside the seaside': Coastal towns enjoy micro-business boom
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Fri 31st May 2024

Several of Britain's coastal towns are among the fastest growing areas for micro-business density, new research reveals.

Seaside locations in Suffolk, where Felixstowe is the largest, saw a 54% growth in the density of micro-businesses, 10 times the average UK growth rate of 5%, according to analysis of 500,000 UK digital micro-businesses by GoDaddy.

The web domain firm calculated a micro-business density score by mapping the number of small firms against each 100 residents.

Bournemouth West (+29%), East Devon (+23%) and Bexhill and Battle (+23%) also outstripped the national average, while the Isle of Wight, Totnes, and Portishead in North Somerset saw growth of +13%.

Catherine Hickman, who started organic skincare business Fanatical Botanical in Felixstowe last year, said:

"I developed an interest in clean skincare when medical treatment meant that my skin became too sensitive for regular products.

"I’ve been making my own for the past decade and, following a redundancy, decided to take the leap and develop it into a business. I’ve kept a part-time job as a specialised horticulturalist to raise capital for scaling its operations.

"Felixstowe has a strong community spirit; people believe in shopping local and supporting small businesses. The craft fairs and markets in Felixstowe helped get my business off the ground and in December I launched my website to support the next phase.

"My business is continuing to grow and I’ve just secured three local stockists to distribute my range of natural skincare products."

Andrew Gradon, head of GoDaddy UK & Ireland, added:

"The UK's small business community is in good health and we've seen growth in micro-business density in most parts of the country. Many iconic coastal towns have been at the heart of this boom.

"The trend is particularly pronounced in the south of England, as people have moved out of London post-Covid. However, seaside towns in northern areas have not fared as well.

"With the rapid advancements in technology and tools to help entrepreneurs set up websites quickly and efficiently, we hope to see the north-south seaside divide start to close in the near future."

Entrepreneur communities in coastal towns in the north of England and Wales grew at a slower rate than those in southern England.

Examples include Blackpool South (+2.7%), the Vale of Clwyd which contains Rhyl (+2.7%), Scarborough and Whitby (+2.1%) and Morecambe and Lunesdale (+2.1%).

Related resources

Advice on starting a business via Enterprise Nation's StartUp UK campaign

How to run and grow a successful micro-business

Book a free call with a micro-business expert

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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