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The information is accurate as of 31 December 2022.
Data courtesy of Beauhurst.

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in Ards and North Down


The economic landscape of Ards and North Down reveals a diverse business ecosystem. Key sectors include wholesale and retail trade, professional services, real estate, and construction, contributing significantly to the area’s employment and economic activities. There’s a notable balance in gender representation among founders and directors, and a small yet significant presence of young company directors.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: 23,200. The region shows a promising trajectory in employment, with a notable increase in the number of employees.
  • Employee Growth Rate: 8.01%. This growth rate is indicative of a healthy economic environment, fostering job creation.
  • Total Employers Who Increased Employment: 246. This number suggests a dynamic job market with several companies contributing to employment growth.
  • Top Sectors for Employment Growth: Wholesale and retail trade, professional services, and construction are leading sectors. Their growth indicates a robust and diverse economic base.

Business Dynamics

  • Number of IPOs: 0. The absence of IPOs suggests a focus on private or smaller scale businesses.
  • Number of Scaleups: 21. A moderate number of scaleups indicate a nurturing environment for business expansion.
  • Total Number of Companies: 5,271. This number reflects a thriving business community.
  • New Companies (Last 2 Years): 1,143. A high rate of new company formation indicates a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): 4,028. SMEs form the backbone of the local economy, providing stability and diversity.

Sectorial Insights

  • Top Sectors by Number of Companies: Wholesale/retail trade, professional services, real estate, and construction. These sectors dominate the economic landscape, highlighting key areas of business activity.
  • Top Sectors Showing Growth: Wholesale, advertising and branding services, agriculture, and food and drink processing. These sectors demonstrate emerging opportunities and economic diversification.

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: 383. This number is relatively low, indicating a stable business environment.
  • Company Attrition Rate: 7.27% (calculated from total companies and cessations). This rate is within a manageable range, suggesting a healthy business ecosystem.

Leadership and Diversity

  • Percentage of Female Founders: 28%. This shows a notable presence of women in entrepreneurship.
  • Percentage of Male Founders: 70%. Men dominate the founder landscape, but there’s a balance.
  • Gender Diversity in Directors: 28.14% female and 68.02% male. A similar trend is observed in company leadership.
  • Age Distribution of Directors: Majority are above 40, indicating experienced leadership.

Innovation and Growth Indicators

  • Number of Patent Owners: 4. This number, though small, indicates some level of innovation.
  • Number of Grantees: Data not provided.


Ards and North Down’s economic health is characterized by a diverse business landscape, steady employment growth, and a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. The dominance of traditional sectors like wholesale, retail, and construction is complemented by emerging sectors showing growth. The leadership shows a reasonable gender balance, with a skew towards experienced directors.

Company foundations and cessations over time

Active companies over time

The information is accurate as of 31 December 2022.
Data courtesy of Beauhurst.