14 January 2020
Centre for Entrepreneurs 2019 Business Startup Index, sponsored by L1, shows five tech startups launch per hour in 2019
More than five new tech startups launched every hour in 2019, contributing to a record 681,704 new
business formations over the year – a 2.8% increase from 2018. These are some of the findings of
the Centre for Entrepreneurs’ sixth annual analysis of Companies House data.
“It is encouraging that despite a politically turbulent year in which business confidence hit new lows,
business formations continued to set records” said Matt Smith, director of policy and research at the
Centre for Entrepreneurs. “It suggests that entrepreneurial spirit is well and truly embedded across
the UK with entrepreneurs continuing to turn their ideas into action”.
Over 45,000 tech startups were launched across the UK in 2019, representing 6.6% of all new
businesses. 17,401 of these were registered in London (8.2% of total), while tech startups comprised
28% of all new businesses launched in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch. Tech startups were
also highly represented in Brighton and Hove (15%), Winchester (12.8%) and Cambridge (12.5%).
This insight is possible for the first time as a result of the Centre’s novel analysis of industry
classification codes that describe the nature of each business. Companies were launched in over 700
different industries, as varied as raising of llamas and alpacas (10 new businesses), credit bureaus
(23), driving schools (429) and repair of watches and jewelry (141).
As evidence of the impact that food delivery startups and street food are having, 14,363 new takeaway
food shops and mobile food stands registered in 2019, greatly outnumbering both licensed
restaurants (9,405) and unlicensed restaurants and cafes (7,182). Ten new wine producers, 314
brewing companies, and 347 distillery businesses also launched in the year.
London continues to dominate; business formations increased by 2.4% to 221,373. While Birmingham
continues to outperform Manchester in absolute terms (14,509 vs 9,064), the latter is more
entrepreneurial when considering population size. This is not the case in Scotland, where Glasgow
retains an absolute and per capita lead against Edinburgh.
Formation agents and virtual offices continue to distort London and other inner-city locations;
Companies Made Simple provided registered office services in Hackney to circa 16,000 new
businesses last year, with 1st Formations behind circa 12,900 formations in Camden. Meanwhile,
contractor accounting firms influence numbers in several towns; Quickstep Contracting Services are
behind circa 4,000 of the total 5,522 businesses launched in Bromsgrove last year.
“Formation agents and contractor accounting firms will always have a distortionary effect in a handful
of areas” said Smith. “But overall, these figures bring to life the entrepreneurial drive that is evident all
over the UK”.
Strong figures relative to population size in Cheshire East, Salford, Trafford and Stockport also set the
North West ahead of its Northern Powerhouse counterparts, leaving the North East and Yorkshire and
Humber alongside Wales, Scotland and the South West as the five least entrepreneurial areas of the
“While the Northern Powerhouse has the opportunity to significantly boost entrepreneur-led growth
across northern regions, the government must not forget that the South West is in as much needthere
remain regional imbalances in the South West too”, said Friederike Andres, lead researcher at the
Centre for Entrepreneurs.
The data – listing the performance of all local authorities – can be downloaded here:
The methodology can be found in the notes section of the data spreadsheet.
|Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole||5,627|
|City of Edinburgh||5,155|
|City of Bristol||5,004|
The full ranking and formation data for every local authority going back to 2015 can be found in the
*NB this excludes Bromsgrove (5,522) as 83% of businesses are contractor accounting firms that may
not represent genuine local business activity.
45,229 tech startups were launched in 2019.
This sums the number of businesses across 16 industry classifications that the Centre defines as
representing IT technology companies. A full breakdown of businesses per industry can be found in
the spreadsheet above.
Top 10 sectors
|Management consultancy activities other than financial management||36489|
|Other letting and operating of own or leased real estate||33447|
|Other service activities n.e.c.||32365|
|Other business support service activities n.e.c.||30098|
|Buying and selling of own real estate||24021|
|Information technology consultancy activities||23504|
|Retail sale via mail order houses or via Internet||21132|
|Freight transport by road||21029|
|Development of building projects||14434|
|Take-away food shops and mobile food stands||14363|
About the Centre for Entrepreneurs
The Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) is the UK’s leading entrepreneurship foundation. We work to
make the country more entrepreneurial. Our activities are grouped under four key pillars:
- Delivering entrepreneurial development programmes;
- Researching the state of entrepreneurship and how to unlock potential in neglected groups,
- communities and locations;
- Building thriving entrepreneurial communities;
- Engaging and informing policy makers and the public.
Lead researcher, Centre for Entrepreneurs