2021 sees surge in the number of start-ups

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Date: 14 September 2021

Portrait of smiling owner standing at his restaurant gate with open signboard.

Almost 80 new businesses were created every hour across the UK in the first half of 2021, according to a new study.

Analysis of Companies House data by small business lender iwoca has found that 340,534 businesses were registered in the UK between January and June 2021, an increase of 32% from 257,243 over the same time period in 2019.

The iwoca report, Small Business HotSpots UK 2021, reveals that London saw over one-third of the new business registrations with 120,338, followed by the South East (37,573) and North West (33,640). The capital city also witnessed the largest increase in new business registration compared to 2019 (59%), with the West Midlands registering a 49% rise followed by the North East (28%).

This sharp increase comes as the number of people on furlough dropped by 61% over the first half of 2021; while many have returned to their old jobs, the data suggests that a significant number have decided to start their own business. The creation of these new businesses may have contributed to the number of vacancies increasing by over 90% in ten out of 12 UK regions since the start of the year.

Christoph Rieche, iwoca ceo and co-founder, said: "It is 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."

Also this week, however, there have been reports that the government could be planning to scrap the New Enterprise Allowance, an initiative that provides those out of work with mentoring and finance to start a business. The scheme has helped thousands to start a business since its launch, the vast majority outside London and the South East.

"Reports that the New Enterprise Allowance is to be shelved are deeply concerning," said Mike Cherry, national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). "With furlough ending, and our critical self-employed community shrinking in size, this is exactly the moment when we should be encouraging more individuals to start businesses ... The scheme has been an important contributor to the levelling-up agenda. Scrapping it, especially at this juncture, would be a mistake. Instead, the government should be scaling it up, and ensuring it reaches more of the young people who have, in a lot of cases, borne the brunt of COVID-linked disruption."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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