A study using data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics shows there was a record number of new businesses set up in Liverpool city region in 2020. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool city region entrepreneurs defied the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to set up a record number of new businesses in 2020 for the third year in a row.
Across all six boroughs of the city region – Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, St Helens, Knowsley and Halton – 14,210 new companies were registered in 2020 compared to 12,658 during 2019, representing an increase of 12.3%.
This takes the total number of businesses registered in the the city region at the end of 2020 to 75,580, up from 69,193 at the end of 2019, which equates to 9.2% growth. The data is taken from the Inform Direct Review of Company Formations using data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics.
Liverpool saw the the highest number of new businesses formed (6,510 to 33,039), followed by Wirral (2,364 to 15,409), Sefton (2,150 to 13,487), St Helens (1,456 to 6,769), Knowsley (913 to 5,532) and Halton (800 to 5,214).
The UK as a whole also saw a record-breaking 780,766 new businesses formed during the year, compared to 690,763 in 2019. The overall number of UK companies also continued to grow to more than 4.8m, an 8.2% on 2019.
John Korchak, operations director at Inform Direct, said: “It is excellent news to see that Liverpool city region has achieved a record year for new company formations during 2020 despite the unprecedented uncertainties brought by COVID-19.
“Many of the new company formations are in the retail sector, with a large number of new businesses set up to sell goods online or locally, thereby taking advantage of customers’ changing shopping habits.
“Secondly, the effect of the pandemic and national lockdowns means that sadly some existing businesses have folded and employees made redundant, and we see many of those people setting up new ventures on their own as an alternative way to earn a living.
The number of company dissolutions across the UK – 418,427 during 2020 – was the lowest since 2015. It remains open to debate whether this positive trend will last, especially when Government support for businesses is withdrawn.
New enterprises set up during the pandemic might also be short-lived, as people return to full-time employment or struggle to take the business to the next level.
Mr Korchak added: “2020 was a year like no other for UK businesses. Although we can look forward to a brighter future with the vaccination programme, there remain unknown factors such as how quickly the economy will recover and of course the impact of Brexit.”
In Liverpool city region, would-be entrepreneurs can access free assistance via the Enterprise Hub programme. It is part-funded by European Regional Development Fund and delivered by social enterprise The Women’s Organisation. The scheme offers free advice and guidance to those living in the city region thinking of starting a business.
Enterprise Hub support is available to individuals looking to start a business within the Liverpool city region, or businesses under 42 months looking to grow in the Liverpool city region. For more details on Enterprise Hub, click here.