Statistics from the Department of Trade and Industry show that the number of businesses registered in the county stands at 13,955 – an increase of more than 1.8 per cent on last year, compared to a national average increase of 1.3pc.

The number of new businesses set up in Bedfordshire this year has fallen slightly but the total of those companies going out of businesses is at its lowest level since 1999. Economic development officers at Bedfordshire County Council were especially pleased that the figures indicated an increase in survival of new businesses, said a County Hall spokesman.

Bedfordshire County Council has launched a new business growth programme in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire and supports young start-ups through organisations such as the Chamber, Prince’s Trust and Young Enterprise.

County Cllr John Scott, cabinet member for planning and economic growth, said: “The government’s figures have confirmed our belief that Bedfordshire is one of the best places to set up and run a business. A healthy business sector will provide quality jobs for our residents and allow the county to thrive.”

Bedfordshire and Luton Enterprise Agency saw 1,206 would-be entrepreneurs last year, helping 151 businesses to start up, creating more than 250 jobs.

Business advisor Shahida Parkar said: “We see Bedfordshire’s start-up businesses on a daily basis and are regularly impressed at how creative and entrepreneurial the county’s people are. Quality support for start-up business is part of the mix that makes Bedfordshire such an excellent place to do business.

“Bedfordshire and Luton Enterprise Agency prides itself on being at the heart of this support. We see our role as nurturing our local entrepreneurs enabling them to create truly sustainable businesses of real benefit to the economy of Bedfordshire and Luton.”

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