Almost half a million businesses got off the ground in 2020

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Date: 9 March 2021

An attractive young man works on his laptop

In spite of the coronavirus pandemic, 468,371 businesses were registered in the UK in 2020 according to data from Companies House.

A new study by instantprint has found that the pandemic certainly didn't kill off the entrepreneurial spirit in the UK.

The most popular start-up sector in 2020 was retail sales, with 22,011 new registrations in this field. Other popular choices included management consultancy (16,869), real estate (16,747), freight transport (10,848), building development (9,217) and IT consultancy (9,064).

June was the peak month for new business registrations in 2020, with 52,281 registrations. Comparatively, January was the least busy with just 25,403 registrations. The 27th week of the year (29th June - 5th July) was the busiest week for new registrations - 18,189 were made that week alone.

London (123,462 registrations), Birmingham (11,165), and Manchester (9,684) were found to be the cities with the highest number of new company registrations in 2020, followed by Glasgow, Leicester, Leeds, Bristol and Liverpool.

Looking ahead, the survey data found that almost a fifth of UK adults (18%) have firm plans to start a business in 2021, with a further third (29%) considering a new business. Young people are most likely to be looking to start a new enterprise - including 39% of 18-24-year-olds and 32% of millennials (25-34-year-olds).

London (28%), Birmingham (26%), Bristol (21%), Manchester (21%) and Newcastle (17%), came out as the top cities for residents looking to start a business in 2021.

While COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, most of those launching a new business in early 2021 are expected to do some from home. "There really has been no easier time to run a business out of your home, and it's great to see the number of business ventures being embarked upon by UK adults, despite the events the year has presented us with," said Laura Mucklow, head of instantprint.

Meanwhile, the extension of the furlough scheme to September 2021 has prevented a large number of business failures, according to a survey of 1,000 SME decision-makers by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance.

Its findings show that 12% of small firms said that they would have been at risk of closure had the furlough scheme ended in April; a further 14% of business leaders said they would have had to make redundancies. Nearly a third of SMEs (30%) said their business would not have survived the pandemic at all without the furlough scheme.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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