Inflation may remain high, but a boom in business registration is a silver lining in the current climate, says business expert EMMA JONES.
Emma Jones says the boom in company formation in the first half of the year is a bright spot for the economy.
Emma Jones CBE is the founder and CEO of small business network and business support provider Enterprise Nation.
Inflation remains high despite June figures showing a slight contraction and continues to cast a shadow over the UK economy.
But before you descend, take a few minutes to look on the bright side: Nearly half a million new businesses registered with Companies House in the first six months of this year.
It is a trend that is not being squashed by economic indicators or inflationary pressures. And even if only a small handful of these companies become the fast-growing Unicorns of the future, that’s good news for all of us.
We have been studying this rise in start-ups for many years. In 2015 the UK hit a record half million in 12 months. Eight years later we are arriving in six months.
Enterprise Nation Startup Tracker dynamically tracks startups and found that 431,060 companies registered in the first six months of 2023 through the end of June, with 78,997 companies registered last month.
This boom in start-ups reflects a constant trend in entrepreneurship. In 2022, 784,762 companies were registered in the Mercantile Registry, almost 30,000 more than in 2021. In 2019, 670,575 companies were registered. And we go on.
Because? We know from our own research that a third of all UK adults were thinking of starting a business at some point this year. Yes, part of that was about increasing profits in a cost of living crisis, but much of it was about giving back, job satisfaction, and monetization skills.
It is also about awareness. Among digitally savvy Gen Zs, that number rises to nearly half (48 percent) who said they wanted to start a business. That could be anything from personal training to selling secondhand clothes on Depop.
That’s a whole generation that can now look forward to a career that not only has multiple jobs, but also multiple businesses and side hustles in what might seem like a very different future.
But don’t just take our word for it.
According to another recent report we did on the amount of accessible space available to entrepreneurs, we found a 22% increase in demand for co-working spaces, with particularly strong regional growth in northern cities like Leeds and Manchester.
And in our communities, entrepreneurs are powering our main streets because now 63 percent of nearby stores and restaurants are now independent.
As we head into the busy second half of 2023, what those people need is to get the right kind of support to help them efficiently accomplish what they set out to do, and that is to share their knowledge, add value to their communities, and use their talent to generate more cash.
Entrepreneurs often have brilliant, life-changing ideas, they just need support to develop a clear plan and help overcome some of the obstacles that can often derail a business. I mean support with things like budgeting, for example, or understanding cash flow and using digital tools to increase productivity and efficiency.
StartUp UK, a program developed by Enterprise Nation and Monzo Business, is already helping many start-ups to develop key business skills in their own time, online.
So far this year, the free program has reached 165,000 small business owners with its webinars, e-learning modules, and support.
This kind of ‘always on’ style of support is becoming increasingly important, especially for disadvantaged entrepreneurs, but also for the growing number of women starting a business in the UK.
According to the most recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, one in ten women are already in the early stages of starting a business – an all-time high.
Skeptics will say that these figures do not reflect the true picture. We admit, they have not been balanced by the number of insolvencies, for example. But in our experience, having the experience of working for yourself is intoxicating.
It opens up a whole new world of possibilities, not just for the entrepreneurs involved, but for all of us.
And that is worth celebrating.