Start-up Numbers up By One Fifth in 2011

The number of people starting businesses is accelerating and will rise by almost 20 per cent year-on-year in 2011, figures by Creditsafe have suggested.

Research carried out by the credit rating business estimated that 470,000 new limited companies will be registered in 2011 ― an 18 per cent increase on 2010.

Insolvencies are also predicted to be up by 4 per cent this year, but this will still mean a net gain of 455,000 new limited companies in the UK in 2011.

Regionally, London (with an estimated 160,000 new businesses by the end of 2011) and the South East (60,715) are the major start-up hubs in the UK. But the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber, in particular, have seen a significant rise in the number of start-ups this year (an estimated 46,100 and 28,800 respectively).

“This suggests that those made redundant in the public sector are starting new ventures in the private sector,” said Creditsafe business development director David Knowles.

Dawn Whiteley, chief executive of the National Enterprise Network, agreed:

“History tells us that more people consider starting or actually start a business in a recession. There is also increased pressure due to redundancies in the public sector ― a trend that we believe will continue in the year ahead.”

“It’s also seen to be much easier and more credible to start a business these days, with more support and opportunity for those that want to do so.”

However, Whiteley pointed out that the 471,000 registered limited companies would not represent the total number of new businesses started in the UK this year.

“Sole traders represent a huge proportion of new businesses started each year,” she said. “However, the actual totals are difficult to quantify, with no one collecting that data other than HM Revenue & Customs for National Insurance contributions, which isn’t in the public domain as it’s classed as individual’s data.”

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman wouldn’t comment on the figures until the Government’s own data is released next year.

But he said the start-ups and small firms were “right at the very heart of our economic plan” and the Government had introduced initiatives such as the My New Business portal, Mentorsme and a reduction in corporation tax to create a supportive environment for new firms.

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