DARLINGTON has become a regional hotspot for business start-ups, according to a Government-backed report which also showed that entrepreneurs in Tyne and Wear are lagging behind their national rivals.

Research from StartUp Britain on the number of businesses registered with Companies House in 2013 showed 1,406 had a Darlington postcode.

County Durham, including Durham City, had 1018 while only 805 registrations were from Sunderland-based firms.

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The raw data, which still needs to be audited, showed 5,530 new start-ups in and around Newcastle, meaning it propped up the reports table of the top 25 locations, leaving Tyneside lagging behind the likes of Northampton, Stockport and Warrington.

London and South-East continues to be Britains entrepreneurial power house, with Guildford, Tonbridge and Chelmsford all featuring in the top 25.
Greater London had 136,939 new businesses registered, way ahead of its nearest rivals Birmingham at 16,281 and Manchester at 11,765.

Darlingtons strong showing was seen as a tribute a drive by the Darlington Partnership of public and private sector organisations to help entrepreneurs. 

"We offer a range of support from accessing funding to practical advice which means failure rates of new start-ups is way below the national average," said Shak Asghar of Darlington Borough Councils economic regeneration team. 

A 100,000 grant from the High Street Innovation Fund has backed retail start-ups in the town, and the regeneration team also works closely with Job Centre Plus and business support organisation Tedco to help jobseekers set up their own businesses.

Dr Simon Goon managing director of Business Durham, Durham County Council's business division, pointed to a sharp drop in funding and manpower, following the demise of development body OneNorthEast, as a reason behind the Countys relatively poor performance.

"Durham has always had one of the lowest start up rates, even during the relative boom years of funding and so there should be no surprises that this is still the case," said Dr Goon, who hoped that schemes such as the Future Business Magnates competition would help inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs in County Durham. 

Now in its ninth year, the contest will see teams from 24 local secondary schools made up of eight pupils, aged 12 to 13, work alongside local businesses to complete challenges, including researching, designing and marketing their own product.

British entrepreneurs created a record number of new businesses in 2013, with 526,446 businesses were registered with Companies House, beating the 484,224 businesses recorded in 2012, and 440,600 in 2011.