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New GoDaddy Research: The micro-business powerhouse

5 min read
Thomas Costello
  • Data from GoDaddy’s latest ‘State of the Nation’ review of the UK’s micro-business landscape (businesses with fewer than 10 employees) shows that new venture numbers rose fastest in the North of England last year
  • Parts of Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire saw the strongest growth according to the latest figures
  • The ‘birth’ of new ventures has grown by over 20% during the pandemic across the UK
  • GoDaddy and British Chambers of Commerce host free webinars to help aspiring and existing new venture founders launch and grow a business online

More than a year on since the first Covid-19 lockdown, GoDaddy’s ‘State of the Nation’ data1 confirms that UK entrepreneurs have continued to defy the odds, and that there has been an increase of 21% in new ventures2 across the nation.

The strongest growth was seen in ‘The Northwest Gateway’ – an area spanning from Stafford and Telford in the Midlands to Cheshire in the North – which saw new venture numbers soar by 65%. And while areas of London and Surrey feature in the top 10, all other entries in the top five are in the North of England or Scotland. They are: the Manchester and Liverpool corridor [56.8% growth], East Lancashire [36.4%] Yorkshire West & North [31%], and the Scottish Highlands & Islands [31%].

James Eadie, Senior Director Brand Marketing at GoDaddy said:

At a time when the Government is aiming to ‘level up’ the UK and fuel growth outside of London and the South East, our data confirms that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well right across the four corners of the United Kingdom, and is further reflected in the top ten regional hotspots, in particular in the North where we’ve seen a sustained increase in new online ventures.

“Despite the many challenges caused by the pandemic, a ‘second digital revolution’ has emerged and savvy micro-businesses have been able to take advantage of getting online to benefit from the increasing consumer shift to ecommerce. GoDaddy is proud to support these everyday entrepreneurs in their success.”

One such person from the Northern Gateway is Andy Walker, founder of local bakery delivery service Gingerbread Bakery. Starting his business in 2020, Andy always dreamed of starting his own business for years and did not want to let the pandemic stand in his way.

Andy Walker, Gingerbread Bakery, said: “I’ve been thinking of setting up my own bakery for a long time. It’s always been a passion of mine so after 25 years as a software developer, I decided 2020 was going to be the year I took on a new challenge. I started setting out plans in February but then Covid-19 started to take hold and I thought it wouldn’t happen. My online store is working brilliantly and has helped me survive the pandemic.”

To help aspiring and existing new venture founders launch and grow their businesses online, GoDaddy has teamed up with the British Chambers of Commerce to host four free events in the coming weeks. All hosted online, the series includes:

  1. Starting a business and creating a website – 22 April 2021
  2. Promoting your business online for ‘next to nothing’ – 6 May 2021
  3. Selling online – 20 May 2021
  4. Maintaining your online presence post-pandemic – 3rd June 2021

British Chambers of Commerce Co-Executive Director, Hannah Essex, said:

“We are very pleased to be partnering with GoDaddy to deliver this series of masterclasses at such a crucial time for small and micro-businesses. We know that throughout the Accredited Chamber Network many firms have moved mountains in the past year to transform the way they engage with consumers and deliver their products and services.

“The stories we’ve heard from around the UK are ones of businesses not just turning to digital adoption for survival in the pandemic, but proactively making moves in e-commerce that will turn into lasting innovations for them. We hope that by partnering with GoDaddy on this series of events we can share expertise that will allow others to follow these success stories, as well as help those already making strides in the digital space to hit new heights in the future.”

To register for the ‘masterclass’ events, visit: https://www.godaddy.com/resources/uk/back-to-business-masterclasses/

The top 10 regional hotspots for new venture growth, from the research data are:

HotspotPostcode areas included% growth in ventures
The Northwest GatewayChester




The Manchester-Liverpool CorridorManchester




Lancashire EastBlackburn36.4%
Yorkshire West & NorthBradford







Highlands & IslandsOuter Hebrides





The South Surrey StretchGuildford


The A15 CorridorLincoln


Central LondonEast Central (EC)

West Central (WC)

The East Midlands TriangleDerby



London Outer EastIlford



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About the research

1 GoDaddy’s ‘new venture’ report has assessed the UK dataset of new business registrations for the full 2019 and 2020 calendar years, comparing accordingly. GoDaddy commissioned Development Economics to analyse its data, compare with official data sources (e.g. ONS) and group by geographic region.

2 A ‘new venture’ is defined as a new website that shows some level of commercial activity, e.g. it has an email address attached to it, or e-commerce capabilities.