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

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in Preston


Preston’s economic landscape is characterised by a diverse array of sectors, with a significant presence in wholesale and retail trade. The city has experienced robust growth in terms of employment, and there’s a notable increase in business activities, particularly in sectors like retail and educational services. The gender distribution among founders and directors indicates a predominance of male leadership, though female representation is gradually increasing.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: Preston has a total of 61,323 employees. The city has witnessed a rise in employment, with 105 companies reporting an increase in the number of employees. This 14.95% employee growth signifies a vibrant job market and an expanding economy.
  • Top Sectors with Rising Employment: The sectors with the most significant growth in employment include Other Retail, Educational Services, Other Consumer Goods, Business Training Services, and Materials Technology. This diversified growth indicates a healthy balance across various industries.
  • Number of IPOs: There have been no IPOs reported, suggesting that businesses may be focusing on growth and stability rather than public offerings.

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: Preston has seen 1,268 companies cease operations. This number, in the context of the total businesses and new companies, suggests a dynamic market with a natural cycle of business turnover.
  • Number of New Companies in 2 Years: The city has seen 3,530 new companies in the last two years out of a total of 20,193 new companies, indicating a robust and growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Number of SMEs and Exporters: With 8,695 SMEs and 208 exporters, Preston shows a strong base of small and medium-sized enterprises contributing to its economy, along with a presence in international markets.
  • Number of Companies with Foreign Parentage and Fundraisings: There are 144 companies with foreign parentage and 7 fund raisings, highlighting a level of international investment and financial activity in the city.

Sector Dynamics

  • Top Sectors by Number of Companies: The leading sectors in Preston include Wholesale and Retail Trade, Professional and Technical Activities, Construction, Real Estate, and Administrative Services. These sectors form the backbone of Preston’s economy.
  • Sectoral Growth Dynamics: The top sectors showing growth, such as Other Retail and Educational Services, indicate a shift towards consumer-focused and knowledge-based industries.
  • Number of Scaleups: Preston has 56 scaleups, indicating a healthy number of businesses experiencing significant growth.
  • Number of Patent Owners and Grantees: With 101 patent owners and 4 grantees, Preston displays an environment conducive to innovation and intellectual property development.

Gender Representation in Business Leadership

  • Percentage of Female and Male Founders: 10.53% of founders are female, and 87.72% are male, showing a gender gap in entrepreneurship.
  • Percentage of Female and Male Directors: 22.23% female directors and 73.05% male directors indicate a similar gender disparity in corporate leadership.

Other Key Indicators

  • Young Companies with Young Directors: 750 companies have young directors, showcasing a youthful entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Number of Spinouts and Attendances: There have been no spinouts, but 5 attendances, suggesting some level of networking or collaborative events within the business community.


Preston’s economic health is marked by a strong and diverse business sector, significant employment growth, and a thriving SME environment. The city shows potential in innovation and business scale-ups. However, there is a notable gender disparity in business leadership roles that warrants attention. Overall, the economic outlook is positive, with room for growth in female entrepreneurship and leadership.

Company foundations and cessations over time

Active companies over time

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