More county companies are surviving recession

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Nearly half of new businesses set up in the county are battling the recession and surviving for at least five years, new figures have revealed.

Office for National Statistics data shows that 47.3 per cent of businesses set up in Northamptonshire in 2005 were still trading in 2010 – around three per cent above the national average.

In Wellingborough, 48.2 per cent of 330 new businesses survived. In Kettering 47.8 per cent of 365 businesses survived and in East Northamptonshire, 47.2 per cent of 420 businesses survived.

In Corby, 40.4 per cent of 180 businesses survived – the only part of north Northamptonshire below the national average of 44.1 per cent.

Experts are largely positive about the outlook and what they can do to help.

Neil Griffin, manager of the Newlands Centre in Kettering, said: “What we have done is try to get people in on realistic rates they can afford to pay.

“If we can nurse businesses along, when they start to grow they can start to pay more towards the market rent.”

Dan Pickard, centre manager at Willow Place in Corby, said: “From a retail perspective, incentives are on offer such as a rent-free period or monthly rather than quarterly rent.

“We are open and honest with people, and we are not the sort of landlord that will just take people’s money and run.”

Wellingborough Business Improvement District manager Joanna Chapman said: “In Wellingborough town centre we have had more businesses open up in the last six months than in the six months before.

“Businesses that survive in these difficult times will be able to go on and reap the benefits of the next boom.”

And businesses were also largely buoyant about the outlook.

Rob Medhurst, who runs coffee shop Cortardo, in Montagu Street, Kettering, said: “At the moment the only companies surviving in this mess is independent businesses, because we are so flexible. You can change with the times.

“With businesses starting up, as long as you have a sound plan and good location it is okay.

“The biggest problem is rent and rates.”

Denis Smart runs Owen Smart Jewellers, in London Road, Kettering – a family business established in 1949.

He said: “If you are starting afresh it is tough. There is so much competition. You can go on the internet and buy anything.”