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

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in Leicester


Leicester’s economic landscape is characterised by a diverse range of sectors with a significant emphasis on wholesale and retail trade, real estate activities, and professional services. The city has shown a healthy employment growth rate and a vibrant business environment, reflected in the number of new companies and SMEs. However, the absence of recent IPOs and a moderate level of company cessations suggest areas for potential improvement.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: Leicester has 131,990 employees, indicating a robust employment scenario.
  • Employment Growth: The city has witnessed a 10.74% growth in employment, demonstrating a positive trend in job creation.
  • Top Sectors by Employment: The leading sectors are wholesale/retail trade (18.76%), real estate (11.55%), and professional services (9.89%), showing a balanced mix of service-oriented and trade-based industries.
  • Top Sectors with Rising Employment: Notable sectors with rising employment include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), business and consumer financial services, highlighting a shift towards technology and financial services.

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: There were 3,693 company cessations in the last reported period, indicating a need to explore factors affecting business sustainability in Leicester.
  • Total Companies: Leicester is home to 29,139 companies, reflecting a thriving business environment.
  • New Companies (2 Years): With 5,076 new companies formed in the last two years, there’s a clear trend of entrepreneurial activity.
  • SMEs: The presence of 20,536 SMEs underlines the importance of small and medium enterprises in the local economy.
  • Exporters and Foreign Parent Companies: There are 598 exporters and 273 companies with foreign parentage, signifying a level of international business engagement.

Sector Dynamics

  • Top Sectors: The leading sectors by the number of companies include wholesale/retail trade, real estate, professional services, transportation, and administrative support.
  • Emerging Sectors: Sectors showing promise include SaaS and various business and financial services, indicating a growing preference for technology-driven and financial sectors.

Innovation and Growth

  • Scaleups: The presence of 102 scaleup companies suggests a nurturing environment for growing businesses.
  • Patent Owners and Grantees: With 263 patent owners and 7 grantees, there’s evidence of innovation, though there’s room for growth in this area.

Diversity and Inclusion

  • Founders’ Gender: 14.75% of founders are female, which points to a gender gap in entrepreneurship that may need addressing.
  • Directors’ Gender: 23.05% female directors reflect a similar trend in corporate leadership roles.


Leicester’s economy is marked by a healthy mix of traditional and emerging sectors, with significant growth in employment and new businesses. However, the city needs to foster innovation and address the gender gap in entrepreneurship and leadership. Further emphasis on supporting scaleups, encouraging patent creation, and enhancing business continuity could propel Leicester’s economic landscape to greater heights.

Company foundations and cessations over time

Active companies over time

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