Nearly 80 new UK businesses were registered per hour in the first half of 2021

New research shows increase in registered new businesses post-Covid.

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Despite the financial impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, analysis of Companies House data has revealed that more than 340,500 businesses were registered in the UK between January and June 2021.

The research was conducted by iwoca, a small business lender, as part of its Small Business HotSpots UK 2021. The reported figure is an increase of 32% from the same time period in 2019, and signals a rise in entrepreneurship to help drive the economic recovery post-Covid.

London was the most popular area to start a business

iwoca analysed Companies House data comparing business registrations between January and June 2019, and January and June 2021.

The results found that London saw over one third of the new registrations with 120,338. The capital’s local authorities make up half of the top 10, which also includes Birmingham in 5th with 7,442 new firms and Kent placing 7th with 6,504 businesses.

The district of Camden saw the largest number of businesses registered out of all UK local authorities, with 19,755 new companies – a rate of more than 4 and a half new firms every hour.

The South East region had the second most registrations after London, with 37,573. This was followed by the North West (33,640).

London also witnessed the largest increase in new business registration compared to 2019 of 59%, with the West Midlands registering a 49% rise followed by the North East (28%).

Christopher Rieche iwoca

Christoph Rieche, iwoca CEO and co-founder

What’s caused the increase in new businesses?

The data from Companies House suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered people’s ambitions. The number of people on furlough dropped by 61% over the first half of 2021 but, while many have returned to their old jobs, it seems that a significant number have decided to start their own business.

Research from Tide also recently revealed that the UK is the best country in Europe to start a business, suggesting that entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the country’s many benefits for startups, including low registration fees.

The creation of these new businesses may have also contributed to an increase in the number of job vacancies, which has risen by 90% in 10 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.”

Cathy Cockin, owner of Little Miss Electrical – an all-female electrician business in Halifax, West Yorkshire – added: “I always had in the back of my mind that I would run my own business once I had retrained as an electrician. I have had some of the worst days, best days and most challenging days over the last few years since I started. It’s definitely a rollercoaster journey and you need to be confident, determined and take some risks.”

A full breakdown of the top 20 local authorities with the most new business registrations is below:

News business registration UK chart

Image source: Companies House

Thinking of launching a business? Now is an excellent time to start as the economy returns to normal and consumer appetite returns. 

If you’d like to get started with setting up your own firm, read our guide to learn more about the top 10 business ideas for 2021.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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