Number of new UK start-ups breaks record in 2015

Digital Britain
14 Jan, 2016

London ranks as the best city in Europe for digital start-ups and scale-ups

Entrepreneurs launched a record 608,100 start-ups across the UK in 2015, new figures from Companies House reveal.

The data, analysed by the Centre for Entrepreneurs, demonstrates that UK business creation is thriving, surpassing 2014's 581,173 new start-ups to become the fourth consecutive record-beating year.

Luke Johnson, chairman of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, said: "The UK has sustained start-up activity despite the economic recovery providing employment opportunities in established businesses. We have seen a record number of new businesses created for four consecutive years, proving that entrepreneurship has become ingrained within the UK's business culture. 

"This is something we should celebrate and something we should continue to nurture through sensible and incentivising government policies." 

London was responsible for the greatest number of start-ups in 2015, with over 200,000 companies based in the capital. However, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands also feature heavily.

Watford and Warrington, meanwhile, actually surpassed both London and Manchester on a per capita basis with 24.8 and 24.4  per 1,000 people, respectively. 

University towns underperformed in contrast, the report noted, with the number of Cambridge start-ups actually dropping from 15.9 to nine per 1,000 people.

Similarly, Oxford had only 6.8 start-ups per 1,000 people, although seaside towns such as Brighton, Poole and Southend-on-Sea all made the top 20 on a per capita basis. 

Predictably, rural areas sported a lower number of start-ups per 1,000 people, with the figure standing at 2.4 in the Isle of Anglesey.

"While London remains unrivalled compared to the rest of the country, thanks to its better access to funding and strong entrepreneurial support, other regions are also proving their worth – especially Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham," said Matt Smith, director of the Centre for Entrepreneurs. 

"That said, it is interesting to see areas on the fringes of major cities, such as Watford and Warrington, do well and a concern that university cities do so badly. They should be the entrepreneurial hubs of the future."

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