Britain’s dejected seaside towns need entrepreneurs to reinvigorate them

Detailed in a new report published by the think tank they say: “Entrepreneurs thrive on taking chances and solving problems, people with the ability and incentive to inject some much-needed fresh thinking into sleepy communities,”

The research highlights several problems that blight seaside towns, including physical isolation, educational deficiencies, significant levels of deprivation and low-wage, low-skilled seasonal work.

Luke Johnson, chair of Centre for Entrepreneurs, said business people have provided a reason for optimism.

“Just as entrepreneurs built seaside towns, we believe that it is the invention and drive of entrepreneurs that can revive them.

“A combined effort is needed – one that brings together entrepreneurs, national government, local authorities and residents in identifying issues and opportunities, developing solutions, and taking action,” said Johnson.

A key aspect is creating clusters that support entrepreneurs by provide support services and a labour pool.

“If seaside towns can generate such clusters they can reverse the brain-drain and transform their self image, helping attract further investment,” the report added.

As with rural business concerns was the availability of high-speed internet, with the report saying “there must be a relentless focus on getting more businesses online, and on digital skills training”.

Creating publicly accessible asset inventories to help entrepreneurs find out what exists and who owns, lead by local authorities

The report adds that in an era where experiences and authenticity matter most, a unique proposition (whether food, culture or literary sophistication) will be key in attracting educated, high- skilled entrepreneurs and professionals in search of something different.

There were many positives highlighted in the report by the Centre for Entrepreneurs as they drew attention to several case studies detailing entrepreneurship success stories in seaside towns.

“For some time, Bournemouth’s digerati and supporting cast had realised that something special was taking place. This close-knit group knew that the town was spawning top-quality companies – mainly agencies specialising in providing a range of digital services – and that these companies were growing in confidence and significance,” said the report.

Its adds, digital advisor Matt Desmier discovered that there were 454 active, trading creative and digital agencies in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.