Post-pandemic boom sees 80 new businesses an hour

Almost 80 new businesses were created every hour across the UK in the first half of 2021, according to research by one of Europe’s largest small business lenders.

Analysis of Companies House data revealed that 340,534 businesses were registered in the UK between January and June 2021, an increase of 32 per cent from 257,243 over the same time period in 2019.

Christoph Rieche
Entrepreneurial spirit: Christoph Rieche

Camden in north London saw the largest number of all the UK’s local authorities, with 19,755 start-ups – a rate of more than four and a half every hour. The second largest number were registered in Hackney (13,646) followed by 10,151 in Westminster.

In fact, London’s local authorities made up half of the top 10, which also includes Birmingham in 5th with 7,442 new firms and Kent placing 7th with 6,504.

This sharp increase in registrations points to a rise in entrepreneurship as people reassess their work priorities, according to the report’s authors, iwoca, which has distributed nearly £400 million to small businesses through CBILS.

The number of people on Furlough dropped by 61 per cent over the first half of 2021. And whilst many will have returned to their old jobs, the Companies House data suggests that a significant number have decided to start their own business.

The creation of these new businesses will also provide additional jobs and may have contributed to the number of vacancies increasing by over 90 per cent in 10 out of 12 UK regions since the start of the year.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

Christoph Rieche, iwoca CEO, said: “It’s fantastic to see the creation of so many businesses during the first half of this year. they are testament to the entrepreneurial spirit which characterises our vibrant economy.”

In February, The Accountancy Partnership revealed that Generation Z were leading the way in starting their own businesses, accounting for 18,000 start-ups registered in 2020.

In the year until then, they revealed that there had been a 72 per cent increase in 16-20-year-olds registering as sole traders – the only age group to experience an increase in sole traders. The pandemic was viewed as a key driver with a 32 per cent drop in job vacancies in 2020 compared to 2019 and one-fifth of hospitality jobs lost last year.


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SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024