While 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for small businesses, new research from Capital on Tap found that thousands of people up and down the country have started their own business despite uncertain times.
Whether due to necessity or the opportunity afforded by increased amounts of time spent at home, the UK’s lockdown entrepreneurs are helped to drive the economy at a time when other businesses were struggling resulting in a rise in unemployment.
But where were people most likely to start a new business and what industries saw the highest number of new businesses?
Capital on Tap analysed data on the total number of new business registrations, the ratio of population to new start-ups, and year-on-year registrations for 346 UK local authorities and Greater London to find the areas with the most entrepreneurial spirit.
Top 20 Lockdown Entrepreneurial Hotspots
|Rank||Area||Region||New Business Registrations||Change (%)||Residents per New Business||Entrepreneurial Score|
|5||Leeds||YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER||6,666||41.89||119||79.3|
|6||Wyre Forest||WEST MIDLANDS||1,941||55.03||52.2||76.1|
|16||Milton Keynes||SOUTH EAST||2,655||24.65||101.5||71|
In fact, more than 528,746 businesses have registered since the 23rd March 2020 (the beginning of lockdown) – that’s an increase of 26% when compared to the same period the previous year.
While London takes the top spot as the UK’s lockdown entrepreneurial capital, Leicester also ranks near the top of the list after seeing an increase of 72% in new business registrations, accounting for one new business for every 66 people – all this despite spending more than 150 days in lockdown.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10 were Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow, as well as smaller local authorities including Wyre Forest, Luton, and Sandwell.
Most common new businesses
|Business Type||New Registrations||% of Registrations|
|Retail by mail order/internet||27,866||5.21%|
|Buying/selling real estate||19,519||3.65%|
|Business administration & support services||17,717||3.32%|
|Other service activities||17,254||3.23%|
|Arts, entertainment, recreation||17,060||3.19%|
|Letting/operating real estate||16,432||3.08%|
|Finance & insurance||15,264||2.86%|
Rise of the homepreneur
Apple, Amazon and Disney all began in their founders’ homes and garages, and all across the UK lockdown has led to a surge in new businesses such as online retailers that can easily be run from home thanks to online marketplaces like eBay and Etsy.
In fact, online and mail-order retail businesses alone accounted for more than 5% of all new registrations from March to December.
While working from the comfort of your own home comes with benefits such as allowing you to be more flexible in your working hours, spending more time with family, and foregoing the daily commute – it can sometimes be difficult to remain motivated and productive.
If you’re working or running a business from home, the NHS has put together a list of tips to help you feel more productive whilst also taking care of your physical and mental health that you can find here.
Business type by increase in registrations
|Retail by mail order/internet||10,403||27,866||17,463||167.87%|
|Import & Export||1,644||3,740||2,096||127.49%|
|Non-specialised wholesale trade||2,489||5,427||2,938||118.04%|
|Cleaning & Sanitation||3,552||7,014||3,462||97.47%|
|Other retail sale not in stores, stalls or markets||4,162||6,980||2,818||67.71%|
David Luck, CEO of Capital on Tap commented: “The disruption caused by coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on people, businesses, and the global economy, so it’s inspiring to see so many entrepreneurs backing themselves and seizing the opportunity to start their own businesses.
“With remote working increasing our reliance on technology, it’s not surprising to see digital and IT businesses dominating the list of the most common new registrations, however, the increase in online retail and food delivery businesses would seem to suggest that large numbers of people are starting new business ventures from home and using online marketplaces and delivery apps to turn their passions into successful small businesses.
“Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been around for a while, running a business is hard enough without having to worry about funding. That’s why we believe in offering quick, straight-forward funding options so that you can focus on the bigger picture.”