Start-ups reached a record high in 2022

Start-ups reached a record high in 2022
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Thu 6th Apr 2023

Almost 800,000 companies were formed last year, a 4.53% increase on 2021, new analysis reveals.

A total of 790,390 new firms were registered at Companies House, the Centre of Entrepreneurs (CFE) said, which is the highest level since the organisation's first report on company formations in 2014.

The study found there were 62,403 registrations in January 2022, a start of the year record.

The peak of the year came in March with 76,104 new firms. The figure was a record for that month but below the all-time high of 80,469 in July 2020 when the UK emerged from the first coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Company formations increased in Wales, Scotland and England in 2022 compared to 2021, but Northern Ireland saw a fall.

company formations in 2022 - UK nations

The post-COVID reset

The report described company formations in 2022 as the conclusion of the "post-COVID reset".

New business registrations slowed during the first lockdown in 2020, but surged to record formations during the reminder of the year.

The post-COVID reset started in 2021 and in 2022 registrations returned to the numbers CFE said it would expect.

Businesses related to the pandemic, such as manufacturers of medical equipment, pharmaceutical goods and PPE, saw significant growth in 2020. Most of these reverted to pre-COVID registrations in 2020, with the exception of cleaning services which the report said reflected the fact that enhanced cleaning of buildings remained widespread.

The at-home economy

Dirven by the lockdowns and people being at home, consumer businesses boomed in 2020 with new online retail start-ups more than doubling to 43,127.

Post-COVID, the majority of these businesses have remained strong or grown further which CFE said reflects a continued focus on leisure and lifestyle due to increased home working.

at-home economy

Earlier this year, Enterprise Nation also analysed company formations in 2022.

Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones said:

"Amidst the doom and gloom and straitened times we find ourselves in, the British enthusiasm for entrepreneurship continues to grow.

"We know that these figures are not a perfect reflection of the UK's start-up community, but they do tally with our own research and new membership data so far this year.

"For example, we've already seen a dramatic increase in new members – up 78% on this time last year.

"Despite being constantly bombarded with an unrelentingly bleak economic outlook and the news that many businesses are struggling with energy bills, skills and labour shortages and an increasing tax burden – people still have not been deterred from starting a business. In fact, the opposite is true."

Research by Enterprise Nation released in January found that 30% of UK adults are considering starting a business or side hustle in 2023 to boost their income.

Related Enterprise Nation start-up resources

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance journalist and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's news reporter and Bristol Local Leader. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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