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Entrepreneurial Boom in Southern Seaside Resorts

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Coastal resorts in southern England, traditionally renowned for their holiday appeal, are emerging as thriving centres of small business activity.

Towns such as Bournemouth, Sidmouth, and Bexhill-on-Sea are now among the fastest-growing areas for small-scale British enterprises.

Recent analysis by website hosting company GoDaddy has revealed a significant surge in microbusiness density in these regions. Suffolk Coastal, including Felixstowe, experienced an impressive 54% increase in microbusinesses over the 12 months leading up to April, surpassing the UK average growth rate of 5% by more than tenfold.

Other southern areas showing remarkable entrepreneurial growth include the Isle of Wight, Totnes, and Portishead, each exceeding twice the national average. Bournemouth, East Devon, Bexhill and Battle, along with St Austell and Newquay, also reported robust growth rates, with the latter seeing an 11% increase.

Andrew Gradon, head of GoDaddy UK and Ireland, commented on the findings: “The UK’s small business community is in good health and we’ve seen growth in microbusiness density in most parts of the country.”

Entrepreneur Catherine Hickman, founder of skincare business Fanatical Botanical in Felixstowe, shared her success story: “I’ve been making my own [skincare products] for the past decade and, following a redundancy, decided to take the leap and develop it into a business. Felixstowe has a strong community spirit; people believe in shopping local and supporting small businesses.”

Despite the positive trends in the south, northern coastal towns like Blackpool South, Scarborough, and Whitby are not experiencing the same entrepreneurial boom, with growth rates between 2% and 3%. This disparity points to a north-south “seaside divide” in business activity.

Gradon further explained, “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.”

As the entrepreneurial landscape continues to evolve, southern coastal towns are proving to be fertile ground for small businesses, fostering a new generation of enterprises and redefining the economic prospects of these traditional holiday destinations.

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