Entrepreneurial activity rose in the Midlands in the second half of last year – out-performing the national average, new figures show.

More than 2,000 growing companies across the region saw some ownership changes in the second half of 2012 according to the latest Barclays Entrepreneurs Index, compared to 1,790 in the second half of 2011.

That meant a year-on-year rise of 16 per cent, compared to a UK-wide figure of 14 per cent. The report also reveals a rise in the financial health of growing companies with shares changing hands in the Midlands.

The average profit of these companies with shares changing hands in the second half of 2012 was £1.7 million, up by 70 per cent year-on-year from £1 million, but less than the UK average of £2 million, researchers said.

The rise in the Midlands came on the back of soaring activity in the aerospace and automotive industries.

There was a 44 per cent increase in the number of companies with shares changing hands in the industrial sector compared to the previous year, affecting 875 companies.

Ben Gulliford, director of Barclays Wealth and Investment Management in the Midlands, said: “The rise in profitability of these companies, the resurgence of traditional industries, and prosperity for younger sectors such as technology, as well as reinvestment made by entrepreneurs post-exit, is further proof that entrepreneurs are the engine room of the British economy.”

The Barclays Entrepreneurs Index examines shareholder changes of growing businesses with turnovers of £5 million to £200 million.

London saw the fastest growth of any region, with 36 per cent more activity.