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Despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, some 468,371 new start-ups were registered with Companies House last year, with retail the most popular sector of all, welcoming 22,011 new start-up registrations. That’s followed closely by other popular industries such as management consultancy (16,869), property (16,747), freight and logistics (10,848), property development (9,217) and IT consultancy (9,064).

June 2020 proved to be the height of the pandemic’s ‘start-up boom’, with 52,281 new registrations filed in early summer.

This data was used by instantprint to determine the UK’s most entrepreneurial cities in 2020, with London (123,462 registrations) once again coming out on top. That was followed by Birmingham (11,165), Manchester (9,684) and other regional cities, notably Leicester, Glasgow, Leeds, Bristol and Liverpool.

The study also included a survey of people to determine the career intentions of the nation for 2021 and beyond. 18% of those surveyed plan to launch their own business this year, with another 29% weighing up running a start-up. Of those most keen to set up on their own, almost two-fifths (39%) were 18-to-24-year-olds and 32% were millennials aged 25 to 34.

Failure of existing SMEs prevented by furlough extension

In addition to the surge of first-time entrepreneurs across the UK last year, a new survey of 1,000  small businesses has revealed the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until the end of September 2021 has prevented large swathes of business failures.

The study, conducted by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, found that 12% were at risk of closure if the furlough scheme ceased next month. An additional 14% admitted they were planning to make redundancies had the scheme ended in April.

Almost one-in-three (30%) small firms surveyed admitted the furlough scheme has been their lifeline, as they would not have survived the pandemic without it.

Andy Dodd, Managing Director, Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, said: “With nearly six million SMEs operating across the UK, the Government's extension of the Job Retention Scheme will be welcome news to hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country.

“Our research highlights just how important it has been for SMEs, so it’s great that the Government has decided to extend the scheme further, protecting jobs and even businesses from failing.”

Need help with your start-up?

We love working with new start-ups and independent business owners – if you are not receiving the service and support you deserve from your accountant then please talk to us on 0800 0523 555 or use our online enquiry form. We offer free initial consultations, advice, and support over the phone or via video meeting if you have any concerns about face-to-face meetings.

Date published 11 Mar 2021

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