What business to start in 2014

Startups looks at 13 of the best business opportunities you should be looking into this year if you’re thinking about starting up…

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1. Microbrewery8. Mobile catering
2. Personal Trainer9. Data analytics
3. Virtual Assistant10. Game development
4. Niche price comparison 11. Cleantech business
5. Raspberry Pi accessories12. Regional coworking
6. Victoriana13. Boutique carehome
7. BYOD consultant

Let’s assume the economic skies are clearing. With 2014 looking bright and austerity still influencing the mindsets of people looking to start a business, now’s as good a time to take that leap as any.

More new businesses launched last year than ever before in the UK’s history. Support for start-ups and growth is no longer just a talking point.

Chancellor George Osborne has increased start-up funding and put a cap on business rates. The Startup Loans scheme has committed more than £62m to over 12,000 new businesses. Vince Cable launched the £300m Business Bank. The Growth Vouchers scheme will go live this month.

Regional growth funds, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Funding for Lending, and investment in advice for exporting have become a core part of the agenda.

The Technology Strategy Board and Catapult Centres have government backing to support the best new innovations in science, technology, and engineering. Investment from the Social Incubator Fund has gone into social accelerators such as Wayra UnLtd and Bethnal Green Ventures.

Tech clusters are emerging beyond London’s Tech City, with Manchester, Cambridge, Middlesbrough, Swansea, Belfast, Sheffield and Dundee among cities developing distinct start-up identities.

And Boris Johnson hailed the freelancing community as the “lifeblood of our economy”.

And that’s not all. The arrival of Small Business Saturday to the UK and the expansion of “pop-up” shops with PopUp Britain has given a much needed boost to independent stores and the high street.

New businesses operating in “Big Data” and the “internet of things” have flourished, as predicted, with the government opening up the public sector’s vast vault of data to become fully transparent by 2015.

And start-ups are increasingly saying no to bank loans as alternative sources of finance gain traction, such as crowdfunding, peer and invoice lending.

So what’s in store for 2014? Over the next year expect to see “niche” become mainstream. With saturation, especially online, making sense of it all with alternative solutions will be key. We predict the rise of niche comparison sites and boutique care homes as areas where innovation will occur.

There will be a turn-around in trends as independent beer making bites a chunk out of the big brewers market shares with microbreweries becoming a start-up of choice.

The Mintel Report into British lifestyle suggests the alcohol market will grow to £45bn by 2017, and the food and drinks market in general will see renewed growth.

Independent coffee and tea shops remain an opportunity for 2014 and rising demand for accessible, healthy food will support a boom in mobile catering businesses.

The rise in UK “stay-cations” with the domestic holiday segment growing 19% since 2007, has also lent itself to an uptake of ‘camping pods’ – already huge in the US – as more Brits look for alternate ways to enjoy the British summer time.

We’ve analysed and researched these up-and-coming business and consumer trends to bring you our predictions of the hottest sectors and best businesses to start in 2014. Whether your skills lie in technology, fitness, or content, or if you’ve ever wanted to take up taxidermy, there’s a brilliant start-up opportunity to fit every taste and interest.

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