Yorkshire’s Small Business Boom

Plusnet Business launches content series Humans of New Yorkshire celebrating the people at the heart of Yorkshire’s start-up success

Today, Plusnet Business launches Humans of New Yorkshire, a new content series profiling the small businesses driving Yorkshire’s latest start-up boom.

New research from small business network Enterprise Nation, conducted in partnership with Plusnet, has dug deeper into this regional entrepreneurial trend.

In 2019, Yorkshire businesses have outdone the rest of the UK with 43% of Yorkshire SME’s reporting a better financial performance in the past 6 months compared to 36% outside of the region.

Looking to the future, because of such strong performance, 77% of businesses in Yorkshire expect to grow their revenue in the next 6 months compared to the national average of 72%.

Over a third of Yorkshire businesses surveyed were under three years old with fashion and food and drink proving to be two of the most popular new start-ups.

The study of Yorkshire business also showed that social media, networking and determination were the biggest factors owners claimed had the most effect on their business’s success.

Research from Start Up Loans earlier this year showed that £41m of funding has been allocated to entrepreneurs looking to start a small business in Yorkshire – the most of any region outside of London and the South East.

There have been over 5,000 loans given to Yorkshire businesses since 2012 averaging £8,126 each. This figure is higher than the London average of £7,771.

The Humans of New Yorkshire series will initially launch with eight businesses from Leeds, Sheffield, York, and Huddersfield. The series will feature a botanist, a cutler, a vintage clothing store, a brewery and a variety of unique concept eateries.

  • Michael May Knives was born from founder Michael’s love for Sheffield’s bygone steel industry, buying his first equipment from another master who sadly passed on shortly after training him. Michael still uses Trevor’s patterns and carries on his legacy with his own flair in an effort to maintain the skills and artistry that made Sheffield famous.
  • NO NAME in Sheffield is the brainchild of Tom, a chef who cut his teeth in some of the capital’s busiest kitchens but wanted to bring Michelin-style dining to a more relaxed environment. After finding success with a pop-up bistro in his Mum’s dining room, he set up in an old shop front with only 16 seats and two sittings a night, the restaurant now books up weeks in advance, and has been recently featured in The Good Food Guide 2019
  • Five Rivers Coffee Co. in Sheffield was started after couple Jim and Melissa travelled to Vietnam and were inspired by the food and drink of the country. Donating a portion of their proceeds to Vietnamese charities, the café is a bright and beautiful haven and claimed to be the most Instagram-able venue in the steel city.
  • Dog & Bone Vintage in York is the passion project of Nic – a former student in the city whose love of vintage clothes and design led him to open his store. A trove of beautiful clothing attracts customers from far and wide as they indulge on a treasure hunt for that perfect piece.
  • Magic Rock Brewing in Huddersfield is the passion project of local lad Rich who decided to do something different from his family’s gemstone business. The brewery and taproom are now a focal point of the community and bring people to Huddersfield from all over the country.
  • Botanic in York is a plant shop founded by bat ecologist who had time on her hands while the bats were hibernating. Staffed by houseplant fanatics, the shop doubles as a green agony aunt haven where locals bring in their plants for advice and TLC.
  • Fat Annie’s is an artisan hotdog vendor in Leeds founded after owner James accepted redundancy from his previous office job. To create the perfect hotdog he travelled to New York for five days on a pilgrimage and returned with the knowledge and passion to build a place where both meat eaters and vegans could enjoy the best ‘dog’ possible.
  • OWT is a sustainable, fully-cyclical café using produce from local traders in the market by owners Esther and James. At home in Leeds’ Kirkgate Market and with an everchanging menu they aim to bring the social element back to Yorkshire food by being community focused.

The businesses will also benefit from local exposure via InLink points in Sheffield and Leeds. The InLinks will feature the Humans of New Yorkshire content and direct locals to the businesses. Hyper-local content allows InLinks to act as community notice boards and the aim is to show a side of Yorkshire that the public may not have seen before.

Speaking of the project, Nick Silverwood, Plusnet’s Head of Business, said: “Plusnet is a born and bred Yorkshire company and we wanted to shine a light on the amazing people that make this area so special. As a provider to so many small businesses in Yorkshire and beyond, this is our way of showcasing the amazing people that are redefining the perceptions of our home turf – less flat caps and more flat whites!”

Founder of Enterprise Nation, Emma Jones MBE, said: “Yorkshire has always been an independent region and these findings show just how strong the start-up passion is across the county. All the signs point to 2019 and beyond being a brilliant boom period for small businesses in the region, and the participants of Humans of New Yorkshire are a great example of how going solo can be a rewarding experience like no other.”

The content series starts today, with stories behind the businesses being shared on Plusnet’s Instagram over the coming weeks.


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