‘High-potential’ North West SMEs generate more than £5bn in revenue growth

List includes 211 businesses in Merseyside that have seen total turnover for the period of more than £5bn and turnover growth of more than £622m. Tony McDonough reports

business, meeting, growth
business, meeting, growth


A new report has identified 1,400 “high-potential” small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the North West that have grown their revenues by a total of more than £5bn in three years.

Specialist SME investor BGF, which carried out the study, says the companies between them employ almost 300,000 people  and have seen  turnover growth of 15% since 2015.

Total combined turnover for the three years among the 1,400 was more than £38bn. The list includes 211 businesses in Merseyside that have seen total turnover for the period of more than £5bn and turnover growth of more than £622m.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of companies in the region have grown their revenues in the last three years, a higher proportion than London or the South East. Lancashire has the most SME companies in this category in the region (520), the UK’s third largest concentration of high-potential businesses outside of London.

Uncertain backdrop

The research has been released as part of BGF’s Ready for Business campaign, which will see the investor advocate for continued growth, committing to investing in the region’s entrepreneurs, despite the political and economic uncertainty.

Neil Inskip, head of BGF’s North West office, said: “Against an uncertain backdrop, the entrepreneurs and companies we meet are determined to get on with their job and continue to grow their businesses.

BGF backed 16 North West firms with £80m in 2018 – click to read more

“For the first time, this research shows the extent of progress demonstrated by the SME businesses in the North West, and the figures are really encouraging. This group of businesses is the backbone of the regional economy, contributing financially, as well as creating jobs and innovating within their own sector.

“It’s important that, despite wider economic volatility, they still have access to the right support and funding to help them with their growth.”

Neil Inskip
Neil Inskip, head of BGF’s North West office,


Employee size

The research calculated growth through changes in turnover and employee size among Britain’s private companies with revenues between £3m and £150m, a category of 13,286 businesses nationwide, 11% of which are based in the North West.

The research looks at publicly-reported data. Given current reporting thresholds, this group of companies is likely to be much larger – BGF’s proprietary database indicates that there could be an additional 4,000 companies, increasing the size of this group by 30%.

BGF, which operates in the UK and Ireland, was founded in 2011 specifically to address a long-standing gap in equity funding directed into companies that have outgrown friends, family or angel funding but are not typically large enough to be courted by traditional private equity.

BGF has invested £1.9bn in more than 270 companies since 2011, three quarters of which are based outside London and the South East. 

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