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

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in Bradford


Bradford’s economic landscape reveals a diverse array of sectors with significant activity in wholesale and retail trade, professional services, and construction. The city shows a healthy balance between established industries and emerging sectors, indicating a dynamic business environment. Despite the absence of IPOs, consistent growth in employee numbers and the presence of a significant number of new companies suggest a resilient and evolving economy.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: 535,365. Bradford has seen a substantial workforce, with a notable 10.48% employee growth, indicating robust economic development.
  • Companies with Increased Employment: 282. This reflects the city’s ability to sustain and grow its business operations across various sectors.
  • Top Sectors by Number of Companies:
    • Wholesale and Retail Trade/Repair of Motor Vehicles: 6,572 companies (20.46%)
    • Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities: 3,367 companies (10.48%)
    • Construction: 2,974 companies (9.26%)
  • Top Sectors with Increasing Companies: Other Retail, Distribution, Wholesale, Other Consumer Goods, Chemicals. Each sector saw a rise in the number of companies, albeit modest in absolute terms.

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: 4,070. While this figure may seem high, it is typical in dynamic economies where business turnover can signify both market challenges and opportunities for new entrants.
  • Scale-ups: 168. This demonstrates a healthy environment for business growth and scalability.
  • New Companies (Last 2 Years): 10,923. This high number of new companies highlights Bradford’s attractiveness for entrepreneurship and business start-ups.
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): 21,509. SMEs form the backbone of Bradford’s economy, contributing significantly to employment and innovation.
  • Exporters: 712. A modest but important segment, indicating global reach and competitiveness of Bradford’s businesses.
  • Companies with Foreign Parentage: 414. This reflects Bradford’s integration into the global economy and its ability to attract foreign investment.
  • Fundraisings: 7. This indicates ongoing investment activity, essential for business growth and innovation.
  • Patent Owners: 406. A robust number, indicating a strong focus on innovation and intellectual property.

Diversity and Inclusion

  • Female Founders: 13.24%. This shows a need for increased participation of women in entrepreneurship.
  • Male Founders: 83.09%. Dominant gender in business founding.
  • Female Directors: 24.54%. Indicates progressive, yet still improvable gender diversity in corporate leadership.
  • Male Directors: 70.77%. Predominant gender in board positions.
  • Age Distribution of Directors:
    • Less than 20 years: 0.27%
    • 20-30 years: 8.97%
    • 30-40 years: 20.67%
    • 40-50 years: 25.34%
    • 50-60 years: 23.60%
    • Greater than 60 years: 20.47%


Bradford presents a vibrant and diverse economic landscape with significant activity in traditional and emerging sectors. The city’s ability to attract new businesses and sustain employee growth, along with a significant number of SMEs and scale-ups, speaks to its resilience and adaptability. However, areas such as gender diversity in entrepreneurship and leadership, and innovation metrics like patent ownership, indicate room for further growth and development.

Company foundations and cessations over time

Active companies over time

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