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

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in North Devon


North Devon’s economic landscape showcases a diverse range of sectors, with a particular strength in professional, scientific, and technical activities. The area has seen a healthy growth in employment, evidenced by the increase in total employees and the rise of businesses in various sectors. The absence of IPOs indicates a focus on organic, local business growth rather than large-scale public offerings.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: 26,328. North Devon has experienced a significant increase in employment, with 481 businesses reporting an increase in employees. This indicates a robust and growing job market.
  • Percentage Employee Growth: 6.51%. This steady growth rate in employment suggests a positive economic environment, conducive to business expansion and new opportunities.
  • Number of Scaleups: 36. The presence of 36 scaleups indicates a fertile environment for business development, with these companies demonstrating substantial growth in terms of revenue or employees.

Sector Dynamics

  • Top Sectors: The leading sectors are professional, scientific and technical activities (631 companies, 13.23%), construction (622 companies, 13.04%), and wholesale/retail trade including motor vehicle repair (608 companies, 12.75%). This diversification suggests a balanced economic structure.
  • Top Sectors Showing Growth: The sectors showing growth include other leisure and entertainment, other accommodation, other consumer travel services, and food and drink processors. Each sector has seen the rise of one company, indicating emerging areas of economic activity.

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: 346. While this figure indicates some level of business turnover, it’s relatively low in comparison to the total number of companies (4,770), suggesting a stable business environment.
  • Number of New Companies in 2 Years: 970. This demonstrates a dynamic entrepreneurial environment with a steady influx of new businesses.

Other Key Indicators

  • Number of SMEs: 3,809. Small and medium-sized enterprises form the backbone of North Devon’s economy.
  • Number of Exporters: 122. This reflects the global reach of North Devon’s businesses, albeit a small percentage of the total companies.
  • Number of Companies with Foreign Parentage: 24. This shows some level of foreign investment and international business interest in the region.
  • Number of Fundraisings: 41. This indicates active investment and funding activities, crucial for business growth and innovation.
  • Number of Patent Owners: 2. While low, it suggests some level of innovation, particularly in the scientific and technical sectors.

Demographics and Leadership

  • Founders’ Gender: 18.75% female founders, 78.125% male founders, 3.125% unknown. This shows a gender gap in entrepreneurship that could be addressed for more inclusive growth.
  • Directors’ Gender: 31.28% female directors, 65.74% male directors, 2.98% unknown. Similar to founders, a gender disparity exists in leadership positions.
  • Age Distribution of Directors: Majority are over 40, with the largest group (33.36%) over 60, indicating experienced leadership but possibly a need for younger perspectives.


North Devon’s economic environment is characterised by a diverse sector presence, steady employment growth, and a vibrant SME landscape. The region shows potential in emerging sectors and maintains a stable business environment. Addressing the gender gap in entrepreneurship and leadership, and fostering innovation and young leadership, could further strengthen its economic standing.

Company foundations and cessations over time

Active companies over time

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