Entrepreneurs are flourishing in the Midlands as the economic recovery continues, according to new figures released.

According to the latest Barclays Entrepreneurs Index the number of businesses in the Midlands has grown by four per cent between March 2013 and March 2014, with the total figure now standing at 329,650

The Midlands also saw a 20 per cent increase in the number of sales of businesses, resulting in significant returns for investors – the third highest nationally.

Despite this, the region experienced the biggest fall nationally in the proportion of companies that are considered high-growth

However the overall picture nonethtless represents a sharp increase in entrepreneurial activity in the region, after modest growth in the number of enterprises of just 0.4 per cent in the equivalent period last year.

This Entrepreneurs Index is the fifth in a bi-annual series tracking the UK entrepreneurial lifecycle, using data to measure start-ups, growth and share sales.

The Barclays index saw a levelling effect across most regions in the UK with regards to the proportion of high-growth companies, and the Midlands saw an 11 per cent fall, the largest of any region.

Paul Keiser, regional director, Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, the Midlands, said: “The Midlands has not only undergone a significant increase in the number of new companies that are being started up, but it is also striding ahead in terms of the number of wealth creation events through sales of shares in companies.

“Last year Start-up Britain said the Midlands was the UK’s most entrepreneurial region outside of London and these findings are further evidence of the region’s strength in this area.

“This edition of the Entrepreneurs Index shows that entrepreneurship is now truly embedded in the region’s business psyche.

“Now it is important that business and policy-makers focus on supporting this segment of the business community into the next level in their journey, allowing them to grow and unlock the potential that they hold not only for the business owners, but for the

wider Midlands economy.”

Gavin Petken, regional director, Midlands, BGF, added: “It is clear from the latest Entrepreneurs Index that, despite a fall in the number of high-growth companies in the region, the volume of entrepreneurs starting businesses continues to increase as evidenced by the four per cent growth in Midlands companies compared to 2013.

“Appropriate support for both new enterprises and growing companies is critical in enabling them to expand to the next stage in their development and this can come in many forms - from board level support to equity finance.”