Barclays Bank has reported that, although down on the record figures seen in 2006 and early 2007, these numbers are the highest in the past three quarters, reflecting the resilience of business start-ups.
The number of start-ups and closures was also roughly the same for this quarter (99,900 closures), compared with previous quarters in which there were significantly greater numbers of closures (Q4 2007: start-ups 86,400, closures 111,900).
In terms of sectors, the most popular industries for start-ups were business and financial services (27,500 start-ups), construction (15,100) and retail (10,700).
John Davis, marketing director for local business at Barclays, observes that small business entrepreneurs are finding opportunities in the marketplace: ‘They are entering in reduced numbers, reflecting an uncertainty over short-term economic prospects, but clearly there’s a feeling that there is never a bad time to start a good business.
‘We do anticipate further modest reductions in both start-ups and closures during the remainder of the year, set against the high numbers in recent years.’
Accompanying the latest figures for starts and closures are estimates on the contribution of non-UK nationals to small businesses. These indicate that ten per cent of mainstream businesses* and 15 per cent of start-ups in 2007 involved an owner-manager from outside the UK.
‘These figures show the great contribution being made to the UK economy by non-UK nationals,’ adds Davis. ‘There is a lot of skilled labour going into these start-ups – for instance, in the health, education and social work sectors, where over one in six start-ups have involvement from non-UK nationals.’
* A mainstream business has a business current account