More than 90 new businesses were created every hour in the UK in the first half of this year, analysis of Companies House data has found.
Despite the difficult economic climate, more than 402,000 businesses were registered between January and June, an increase of 18 per cent on the same period a year earlier.
The highest concentration of start-ups was in London, where 1,587 new firms were set up per 100,000 people, according to research by iwoca, the small business lender. The capital was followed by the West Midlands, with 571, and the northwest, with 554.
All ten local authorities with the highest number of businesses per head were in the capital, with the borough of Camden on top, at 10,204 new firms per 100,000 people. Outside London, Manchester had the most, with 1,165.
Scotland was at the bottom of the list, with only 338 businesses opening per 100,000, while the northeast was in second to last place, with 345.
The rise in entrepreneurship sits alongside an increase in the number of workers switching jobs this year, which rose to a record high of 997,000 during the first quarter. According to the Office for National Statistics, a high proportion of that was driven by resignations rather than redundancies, which iwoca says suggests workers may be quitting to set up new businesses.
One is Cassie Ryan, who owns Noir Footwear, an online and in-store shoe and clothing retailer based in Birmingham. She decided to set up her business during the pandemic. “As a single parent on furlough, I enjoyed the extra time I was able to spend with my daughter, and realised that I wanted the flexibility,” she said.
Seema Desai, iwoca’s chief operating officer, said the figures were welcome, but added: “As many of these businesses struggle with cashflow in the coming months due to skyrocketing business costs, it is vital that lenders step in to provide a helping hand.”
The Federation of Small Businesses urged the government to help the new companies by publishing its long-awaited Enterprise Strategy.