Islington sees high growth in new business start-ups

King's Cross offices
Offices at King's Cross. Islington saw high growth in new business start-ups in 2016-17.

Islington has the fourth-highest rate of new start-ups in London, defying a downward trend seen across the capital.

According to Companies House and the Office for National Statistics, the borough has seen a 30 per cent increase, with 14,813 start-ups launching in 2017, up from 11,461 the previous year, only behind Camden, Hackney, and Westminster.

Research carried out by Inform Direct shows that the number of new start-up businesses in London is declining, a trend it puts down to uncertainty in the wake of Brexit.

Islington’s southern wards have seen the most growth. In Bunhill ward, there was a net increase of 8,895 start-ups. Clerkenwell, however, lost 1,100 companies last year.

Islington has also secured a £1 million grant from the Good Growth Fund, which the Council will match. The money will be invested into four workspaces, potentially creating 140 jobs. Two workspaces will be in Finsbury Park around Fonthill Road, focusing on emerging fashion and technology companies.

Councillor Asima Shaikh said: “I am really pleased that we will be supporting start-ups, local small businesses and creating jobs in Finsbury Park.”

Hak Huseyin, co-chair of the Islington Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s great, we all want new businesses and want people to thrive. Islington is a great borough to be in for lots of reasons – great transport links, wonderful existing businesses they can interact with.

“There are a lot of units opening up to allow small independents to let out rooms. A couple of businesses here in Archway have shut and with the developments there are a lot of units available.

“So there are varied degrees. Obviously in some parts of Islington towards Farringdon everything is slightly enlarged – there’s a good mix.”

Huseyin urged caution, saying that he is less optimistic over the figures for next year. He said: “Rising rents and rates are also putting independents off. Five or six years ago someone would retire and sell their shop and it would go within weeks. Now they are staying empty a bit longer because of ridiculous amounts of rents people are trying to get. But that can’t last.”

Across London last year, 205,527 new companies were formed, down on 2016’s total of 209,869. In the UK there were 634,116, compared to last year’s 664,720.