This collection of reports sets out some of the main findings for private businesses using quantitative methods to analyse high growth firms within the Northern Ireland economy from 1998 onwards and the contribution of these businesses to the NI economy in terms of business turnover and employment over time.

The Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment's Research Agenda 2012 to 2015 identified ‘encouraging business growth’ as a key theme.

In support of this theme, a research project was identified to apply an established OECD definition of High Growth Firms to NI with the aim of identifying the number and characteristics of businesses which underwent exceptional employment or turnover growth over the periods 1998-2001 to 2010-2013. This report was issued in June 2014.

The High Growth Firm research identified a number of additional analytical questions which were subsequently taken forward as Update Bulletins. The publication is also updated annually to include the most recent data.

Bulletin 9 uses the latest IDBR data from September 2018 to provide High Growth figures on businesses for the most recent cohort period between 2013 and 2018, setting these in context with the previously published series of analytics on High Growth and extending the entire period covered from 1998-01 to 2015-18.

Latest publication

The latest results show:

  • the total number of 'in scope' businesses for the latest period (2015-18) was 56,860; 7,000 employed 10 or more staff in the base year and 49,860 employed less than 10 staff in the base year
  • the number of High Growth businesses employing 10 or more staff in the latest period, 2015-18 (895) was lower than the previous period 2014-17 (1,005)
  • the number of High Growth micro businesses employing less than 10 staff in the latest period, 2015-18 (13,145) was higher than the previous period 2014-17 (12,505)
  • micro businesses employing less than 10 staff as a group and over time, experienced higher and more sustained levels of High Growth rates than larger businesses
  • in 2018 High Growth businesses employing 10 or more staff made up 14.4 per cent of total turnover for in scope businesses, with High Growth micro businesses making up 10.7 per cent
  • the share of total turnover for in scope businesses accounted for by non-High Growth businesses has risen from 58.8 per cent in 2009 to 75.0 per cent in 2018
  • in 2018 most people were employed by non-High Growth businesses, which employed some 78.3 per cent in 2018. There has been a fall over time in the proportion of people employed within High Growth firms, this fall is mainly accounted for by High Growth firms employing 10 or more staff in base year.

The latest report published on the 12 March 2019 can be accessed:

Previous bulletins are also available:

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