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Almost 80 new businesses created every hour across UK in first half of 2021

Business accessories and contact me note on a wooden table

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

Analysis of Companies House data reveals 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.

London dominates the list of areas to start a business

iwoca’s Small Business HotSpots UK 2021 reveals that Camden saw the largest number of businesses registered out of all UK local authorities, with 19,755 new companies – a rate of more than four and a half new firms every hour.

The second largest number of new businesses were registered in Hackney (13,646) followed by 10,151 in Westminster. London’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.

London saw over one-third of the new 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 at 59%, with the West Midlands registering a 49% rise followed by the North East (28%).

Increase in new small businesses signals rise in entrepreneurship

This sharp increase in the number of business registrations points to a rise in entrepreneurship as people reassess their work priorities.

The number of people on furlough dropped by 61% over the first half of 2021 – whilst many will have returned to their old jobs, the Companies House data suggests that a significant number have decided to start their own businesses. The creation of these new businesses will also provide additional job opportunities and may have contributed to the number of vacancies increasing by over 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 a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit which characterises our vibrant economy.

“Many of these businesses will be unnecessarily constrained by cash flow. We turn cashflow into a superpower enabling them to grow faster and worry less. We look forward to working with many of them.”

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. My boyfriend is a self-employed plasterer and inspired me. It wasn’t just the hands-on job role I envied but the freedom he had over his own schedule, hours and earning potential.

“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.

“Running the business was manic throughout the pandemic. Our clients were great though – everyone’s been really understanding. Since the first lockdown was lifted we’ve been really busy and it’s not really tapered off yet. We have always booked a few weeks ahead but now it’s a couple of months ahead.”

What are the top 20 local authorities by number of new business registrations?

Local authorityNew businesses created in H1 2019New businesses created in H1 2021% increase H1 2019 – H1 2021Rate of new businesses created per hour (H1 2021)
Camden670519755195%4.57
Hackney594413646130%3.16
Westminster69871015145%2.35
Islington47959636101%2.23
Birmingham5213744243%1.72
Essex5919673214%1.56
Kent5642650415%1.51
Hertfordshire616864545%1.49
Newham2890552091%1.28
Surrey4746538814%1.25
Barnet3710485231%1.12
Manchester3323481245%1.11
Hampshire456146833%1.08
Lancashire3600443123%1.03
Worcestershire2709421756%0.98
Leeds3048376724%0.87
Staffordshire2204364765%0.84
Northamptonshire46403431-26%0.79
Glasgow2531324728%0.75
West Sussex2606320723%0.74
All25724334053432%0.36

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