From ebb to flow: how entrepreneurs can turn the tide for seaside towns

Seaside resort towns feature some of our most magnificent and memorable landscapes and hold a special place in many people’s hearts. They also face a unique set of challenges.

Though there may be much diversity between them, they often share common factors including physical isolation, educational deficiencies, significant levels of deprivation and low-wage, low-skilled seasonal work. These factors are further compounded by ageing populations, decaying seafront infrastructure and a lack of digital connectivity.

The challenges faced by seaside towns have developed over several decades. Uncertainty from successive governments on how to arrest their decline have left them among the most deprived areas of the country.

But there are reasons for optimism and hope. New industries are replacing the old; technology is reconnecting these often marginalised communities and, at the same time, stemming the brain drain. A pioneering generation of entrepreneurs, investors, cultural institutions and local politicians are finding fresh relevance for these towns, harnessing their natural and architectural beauty in novel and imaginative ways.

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

In this report we identify and celebrate examples of entrepreneurs leading the reinvention of five seaside towns across the UK, and take lessons from their successes.

We put forward the recommendations
 that we believe will secure an entrepreneur-led revitalisation, ranging from coastal devolution and investment in infrastructure – particularly broadband – to boosting educational outcomes and skills.

To achieve them, we must ensure that key stakeholders in seaside towns – entrepreneurs, investors, government, educators and charities – come together with a common vision geared towards nurturing entrepreneurship.

Ultimately, it is down to each of Britain’s seaside towns to formulate the unique strategy – based on the town’s identity – that will revive its fortunes.

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