Almost half a million new UK businesses registered in 2020 despite COVID-19

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A total of 468,371 startups were registered last year, according to new data. Photo: Getty

Nearly half a million new businesses were registered in the UK in 2020, according to data from Companies House.

A total of 468,371 startups were registered last year, despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The most popular new business venture in 2020 was in the retail sales sector, including online and mail order retail, with 22,011 new registrations in this field, according to new research by Intsantprint.

Some 16,869 management consultancy businesses were registered, while 16,747 businesses in the field of buying and selling of own real estate were created.

Freight transport via road was also a popular venture, with 10,848 new registrations, followed by building development (9,217), IT consultancy (9,064), takeaway food shops or mobile food stands (9,062), and hairdressing and beauty (7,083).

June was the peak month for new business registrations in 2020, with 52,281 registrations, compared to 25,403 in January, before the coronavirus hit the UK.

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Many Brits started their own businesses in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A reported 9.9 million jobs were furloughed between April and December last year, according to HMRC statistics, and the unemployment rate is at 5%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This has led to many Brits pivoting their careers, starting something new, or turning to “side hustles” as a way of making money during the pandemic.

London was the top city for starting a new business in 2020, with the capital clocking up 123,462 registration. Birmingham came in second with 11,165 registrations, followed by Manchester (9,684), Glasgow (6,166), Leicester (5,549), and Leeds (5,130).

Almost a fifth (18%) of Brits have firm plans to start a business in 2021, with a further third (29%) “considering” a startup.

Younger generations are the most interested in starting their own business as 32% of millennials (25- to 34-year-olds) want to launch a startup in 2021, whilst 39% of 18- to 24-year-olds plan to start a business this year.

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Laura Mucklow, head of Instantprint, said: “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.

“Whether you’re looking to start a side hustle or start a fresh with a complete career change, the sky’s the limit in terms of opportunities, it’s about finding something that works for you, and making sure you’re fully equipped to market and promote your start-up, wherever you run it from.”

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