A record number of new businesses were set up in Bath last month.
The launch of 93 extra firms is being seen as evidence of the city’s entrepreneurial spirit, but business leaders have warned that more needs to be done to find suitable office space for them.
The previous record for business start-ups in the city was 87 – a figure reached in both September 2003 and March 2006.
City MP Don Foster said the data compiled by company registration agent Duport was evidence that “innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit goes hand in hand with Bath.
“Bath is quite rightly renowned across the world for its beauty, history and heritage.
“Yet what is often overlooked is that Bath has stayed true to its innovative past and today possesses a burgeoning reputation for business and creativity – these figures highlight this fact.”
Council chiefs are keen to encourage more creative and digital firms to make their home in Bath, capitalising on the sector’s existing strong presence locally.
Bath Chamber of Commerce executive director Ian Bell said: “This is tremendous news and is certainly good evidence of the great spirit of business that exists in Bath. Our next challenge will be to provide the environment in which those companies can grow, creating even more jobs, and so contributing to prosperity which will benefit the whole community.”
David Gledhill, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses Bath branch, who runs online business Blokes Bags, said his organisation was delighted to see so many entrepreneurs starting their own businesses in the area.
“There is clearly a wealth of talent and some fantastic start-up ideas that are being implemented at a very difficult time economically.
“However, we would like to see more support for them. This Government keeps saying it is relying on the private sector to pull us out of this mess while unravelling tremendously valuable one-to- one business support such as Business Link.”
Bath Business Improvement District manager Andrew Cooper said: “One of Bath’s great strengths as a business magnet is that it offers a compact city centre with easily accessible facilities for all categories of employees, such as great shopping, restaurants and excellent leisure facilities.”
B&NES cabinet member for sustainable development Councillor Cherry Beath (Lib Dem, Combe Down) said the authority was working hard to create the conditions where current and future businesses could thrive and grow.
“The commercial appeal of Bath will only get stronger as the council and its partners deliver our clear regeneration plans and the Bath Riverside ‘City of Ideas’ Enterprise Area that will give business the confidence to start up here.”
David Maher Roberts, co-founder of networking group BathSPARK, said the figures made great reading.
“Over the last 12 months, there has been a sense that entrepreneurial momentum in Bath has been building at some pace. The demand for events and networks like BathSPARK, Creative Bath and Bath Camp has given us anecdotal evidence of this. But this report goes to prove that this business momentum is so much more than a feeling.
“The level of participation we saw during the Bath Digital Festival and XMLBath was clearly an indicator that there is a growing number of entrepreneurs choosing Bath as their base.
“We need to build on this and make sure that the new businesses have the infrastructure, facilities and support needed to grow.”
PUBLICATION: Bath Chronicle - 27 April 2012