2020 named ‘Year of the Start-up’ with record 770,000 UK businesses created

Research shows that a record 770,000 new businesses were created last year, with online and mail-order being the most popular

A massive 770,000 new businesses were created in 2020 – an all-time UK record.

Figures from Tyl by Natwest reveal the number of start-up businesses grew by 30 per cent compared to 2019. Aside from April, 50,000 new businesses were created every month in 2020.

In a year of mass closures across the high street, entrepreneurs turned to the digital market to set up shop. This made online and mail order the most popular sector of creation in 2020.

>See also: The essential guide to starting and growing an online business

There were 305,608 online and mail order businesses created in 2020 compared to 13,615 in 2019. Buying and selling property was the third most popular source of new businesses created, growing by 40 per cent compared to 2019. The number of takeaway shops created increased by 33 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.

The pandemic hit the female workforce particularly hard, with job losses affecting women 1.8 times more than men. So, women had to find new sources of revenue, such as Etsy. A massive 81 per cent of sellers on the platform identify as women and 69 per cent consider their Etsy shop a business. The platform had 1.9m active sellers in 2020, an increase of 1m from 2019.

Leicester had the greatest surge in new enterprises created in relation to its population. For every 100 people in the city, there were 1.68 new enterprises created. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Leicester was the first city to go into lockdown and the longest to live under Covid-19 restrictions.

Mike Elliff, CEO of Tyl, commented on the findings: “Despite the many challenges faced by businesses, communities, and the world at large, the resilience and resourcefulness of Britain’s entrepreneurs is one of the great untold stories of the past year.

“The enterprising energy of new business owners deserves great credit. And while we all look forward to a world without lockdown restrictions, let’s hope the spirit of our agile, innovative and fearless start-up communities can endure long into the future.”

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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