2015 turned out to be a record-breaking year for startups, with 608,110 registering in the UK. Analysis of Companies House data by the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) reveals that the number of new company incorporations is up from 2014, which also saw a previous record of more than 581,000 startup formations.
Deep cultural shift
Luke Johnson, the centre's Chairman, believes that the record numbers prove that entrepreneurship has become engrained in our business culture, and marks a current “deep cultural shift towards entrepreneurialism”.
This is something we should celebrate and something we should continue to nurture through sensible and incentivising government policies. Luke Johnson, Centre for Entrepreneurs
Although established businesses are offering more employment opportunities due to an improved economy, this hasn’t disrupted the upward trend in emerging startups. The financial crisis prompted people to reevaluate their working lives, resulting in many looking for flexible working hours and more independence – such needs are helping to drive the startup surge, claims the CFE.
Startup hot spots
Unsurprisingly, London leads the way with entrepreneurs forming 200,000 companies in 2015. Greater Manchester ranks second, and the CFE reports a wave of startups in seaside towns like Brighton, Poole and Southend-on-Sea.
Also, exurban locations (areas adjacent to major conurbations) are seeing an increase in new businesses, with Watford and Warrington being some of the top boroughs; they beat London and Manchester local authorities when comparing startups on a per capita basis. This, claims the CFE, clashes with the "zeitgeist idea" that the big-city hubs only attract tech and creative startups.
The data also revealed that university cities are lagging behind, despite the wealth of entrepreneurial talent, for example, Cambridge startups dropped to 9 startups per 1,000 people from 15.9 in 2014.
The CFE’s interactive map below shows total startups and startups per 1,000 people for each local authority.