A business network said a 13 per cent increase in registered companies in Hertfordshire is vital for a “strong ecosystem”.

Chris Luff, chief executive officer at Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce, joined the Elected Mayor, Peter Taylor, in praising the “strength” of the local economy following reports 15,554 businesses registered in the county last year.

That figure is up from 13,752 in 2017, defying a background of perceived “political and economic uncertainty”.

David Zerny, partnership development at Hertfordshire Growth Hub, piled on his commendation saying a collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce “ensured” businesses could continue to “grow and thrive”.

The statistics come from Inform Direct Review of UK Company Formations using data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics.

The total number of registered companies in Hertfordshire reached 111,063, up from 105,506 at the end of 2017 - equating to 5.3 per cent growth.

Mayor Taylor said: “The local economy is very strong in Watford, and Clarendon Road and our business parks are seeing new businesses moving in all the time and that’s down to excellent connectivity to the rest of the UK, our location, and a well-educated population.

“There are lots of reasons for this result. Part of what happened with Brexit, and with some companies, is they think it’s cheaper to move out of London into Hertfordshire, so even when there is economic uncertainty we see a very strong local economy.”

Watford Observer:

Peter Taylor

John Korchak, director of operations at Inform Direct, added: “These figures demonstrate strong growth for new company formations in Hertfordshire.

“It presents a very positive picture for business against a background of political and economic uncertainty and shows that the county continues to provide a supportive environment, both for new business ventures and existing enterprises.

“This achievement is replicated in a number of counties and in the UK as a whole which has seen a new record total of registered companies.”

East Hertfordshire formed the highest number of new businesses last year reaching 2,950, followed by Dacorum with 2,386 and Hertsmere registering 2,000.

Mr Zerny from the Hertfordshire Growth Hub said: “This report highlights the importance in having a strong business support ecosystem for our county’s businesses.

“Our work with local organisations, such as the Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce, ensures that businesses in the county have access to the support they need to grow and thrive.”

The Growth Hub will host an All the Help You Can Get event at the Fielder Centre in Hatfield on Wednesday (March 6).

Mr Luff added: “We are very pleased to be able to work closely with the Growth Hub to connect our local business community with high quality excellent resources.”

Speaking about Watford Council’s role in continuing to encourage business confidence, the mayor said: “One of the big things is the improvements to Clarendon Road, we have designated four areas in the town under Article 4 which protects business space. One of the problems in many parts of the country is you see a loss of office space turning into residential and the council has no control over that. But we are protecting our office spaces so businesses do have somewhere to go.

“I was talking to one local enterprise and they were saying how difficult it is to find suitable premises for them to grow, so it’s important we provide high quality space and of course on Clarendon Road we’ve got this big project with our Local Enterprise Partnership and we are going to invest in that and make it attractive for businesses.”

Mayor Taylor added that his favourite business to visit is Ocean Bells Coffee Company Limited, and independent café that does “excellent cakes and coffees”.

For more information, visit https://www.informdirect.co.uk/company-formations-2018/hertfordshire/