2016? Start as you mean to go on…

Did you know: In 2014, a record 1,918 companies started up in Peterborough?

Did you also know: In the first three months of 2015, an incredible 574 companies started compared to 430 in the same period of 2014?

But this blog isn’t about focussing on the past; it’s about 2016 and you starting and growing your business in Peterborough.

It’s a fact that more businesses are created in the first Quarter of the year than at any other time; so it makes sense for Opportunity Peterborough to make sure the support is in place for you to succeed.

Startups bring passion, drive, enthusiasm and innovation to the city. They often tackle problems and bring solutions to market that others may have thought about, but haven’t had the ambition to set in motion. They add variety and choice to established industries and occasionally create entirely new industries out of thin air.

According to a recent Virgin StartUp article new businesses need 4 things:

  • Funding
  • Talent
  • Digital connectivity
  • Transport links

Let’s break these down:

Peterborough already boasts world class digital infrastructure (see here), and our transport links are excellent (direct to London in under 50mins).

Talent and skills are a huge focus for the city and, while Peterborough doesn’t have a thriving Dragon’s Den style angel investment network like some of the larger cities, we at Opportunity Peterborough can connect businesses to the right sources of funding for them at the right time.

Along with these, I’ve written more specifically about what Peterborough could do to encourage the right business environment for growth here:

But I want to focus on something that both of these articles don’t mention…

We live in a world where we can connect with 1000’s of people online instantly, and consequently I believe we’re valuing face to face interactions more and want them to have more impact, honesty and purpose.

When you’re starting out in business those interactions are so important, whether it’s feedback on your concept, inspiration from talking with like-minded people, or even just hearing the StartUp story of other new businesses to realise that you’re facing the same issues.

To tackle this, last year Opportunity Peterborough, Nwes, Allia and Peterborough Workspace created the New Business Network to provide that space to StartUps in our city. It’s a place where it’s ok not to be the finished article, and come together to share, learn and grow, hear from experts on topics that really matter, hear from each other to learn valuable lessons (mostly the type you can’t read about in business books) and network with peers.

You can read about one of our recent events here, as well as a roundup of the network in 2015 here

So that’s why I’m adding a fifth item to the Virgin StartUp list: Community!

But why the focus on new businesses?

Nationally, 1 in every 3 jobs last year was created by a high growth StartUp; and in Peterborough 13% of SMEs are classed as high growth. Not only that, but for every growing SME in Peterborough an average of 7 jobs are created – on that measure we’re placed 3rd in the country out of the largest 64 cities.

We’ve got potential for real economic growth in our StartUps but they don’t pop into existence fully formed – I’m yet to hear an entrepreneur say that they didn’t want, need or ask for support to establish their business.

It’s for this reason that we work hard to make sure the right support networks exist to help new businesses flourish.

2016 is just beginning and if it follows the same path as the past two years we’ll be on to another record year of StartUps in Peterborough, so it’s only fitting that Opportunity Peterborough should be making sure there’s even more support available in the city.

We’ve already announced that we’re supporting Enterprise Nation’s StartUp 2016 event in Peterborough  kicking off the year of StartUp support in real style.

We have a New Business Network event lined up for the 9th of February at the new business centre in Fengate, Pinnacle House, where we’ll be discussing the importance of getting the right location for your business.

If that wasn’t enough for the start of the year, we’ve also got a special guest at our New Business Network event on the 5th of April; Enterprise Nation’s founder Emma Jones  is going to be joining us!


There’s more to come though…

I can’t say too much at the moment, but rest assured – for support in starting and growing your business in 2016 you’re in good company.

I look forward to seeing you and hearing your story soon.


David Simpson


For more information about free business support from Opportunity Peterborough please call 01733 317417 or email: