Startup Statistics UK 2020/2021

Is Britain really one of the best places in the world to start a business? And how many are started in a given year here? We analysed the figures and have compiled a list of must know startup statistics for 2021.

Is Britain really one of the best places in the world to start a business? And how many startups are there in a given year here?

We first pulled together our list of start up statistics a little over a year ago. But here we are in 2021. So what are the latest figures. We’ve updated this as of June 2021.

Startup Statistics UK – The Quick Version

Want the quick version? Here are the biggest figures:

  • 672,890 start ups were founded in the UK in 2018/2019 tax year
  • That’s 1,843.5 per day
  • Or 76.8 per hour
  • 57.6% of companies that started up in 2013 were gone 5 years later
  • 89% of companies founded in 2017 survived the first year
  • 65% of UK employees want to start their own business
Fast forward a year and here’s the latest data from 2019/2020:
  •  There were 665,495 start ups founded in 2019/2020. On paper, that reads like a drop of 1.1% in new company formations, but the Government data release also points out that the previous year was unusually high 
  • That equates to 1,823 new companies a day
  • Or 75.9 every hour
  • More than one per minute. 

For further context and sources please read on.

How Many Startups Are There?

Crikey. Ever tried finding a simple definition of a start up? It’s next to impossible. You get everything from one person limited companies who’ve just formed through to 2 year old tech giants referring to themselves in this way. So let’s keep it simple.

  • 672,890 new companies were incorporated in the UK in the tax year ending April 2019 (source)
  • That dropped slightly to 665,495 in 2019/2020, but that year was still the second highest on record
  • That’s more than 1 company formation per minute in both of those tax years.

That’s well over half a million new start ups in the UK in both of the most recent data releases from Government.

Of course, not all of them will be turning over anything right now. Not all of them ever will. But it’s an incredibly testament to entrepreneurial spirit to see so many newly started businesses over a time period that came with so much political uncertainty.

Start Up Success Rates in the UK

Ok, ok. So aspiring British business magnates are setting up around one company per minute here in the UK. But how many of them are actually succeeding?

Again, there’s no simple success statistics for start ups because metrics and defining success is so complicated. But here are some fairly alarming statistics:

  • 57.6% of businesses started in 2013 were gone by 2018. In other words, fewer than half of UK start ups make it beyond 5 years (source)

But let’s not be all doom and gloomy. You may well not consider a business even close to being a start up by year 5. So what about that all important first year?

  • 89% of start ups founded in 2017 survived the first year (source)

That’s something to shout about, right? Here are some viewpoints from myself and a good friend Hana Bednarova on that important first year in a start up.

Start Up Aspiration in the UK

How many people actually have any desire at all to become the start ups of tomorrow?

  • There are, on average, 18,100 searches per month in Google UK for “how to start a business” based on data from
  • This has surged in recent months with Google Trends predicting that January 2020 will demonstrate the highest number of searches since records began in 2004 for this query in the UK (by quite some way)

This is outlined in the graph above.

searches per month in Google UK for "how to start a business"

We surveyed 1,000 UK employed adults using Google Surveys in January 2020. WE asked a simple question:

“Do you want to start your own business.”

  • 65% of adults in the UK want to start their own business
  • 21% do not want to start a business
  • 14% are not sure

So that’s almost two thirds of the British workforce as of January 2020 that wants to start its own business.

0 %
of UK workers would like to start their own business
start up statistics 2020 uk

Startup Scene in 2021

It’s clear the UK’s startup scene is bustling in 2021. We’ll start over half a million this year. And, if previous years are to go by, almost all will celebrate their first birthday.

With two thirds of the workforce keen to start their own ventures, could the number of start ups increase even further in the years to come?

Let’s Google That

The overwhelming majority of us will turn to Google for facts, figures and information for pretty much anything in life, from hairstyles to health related issues and even business start up guidance.

So we took a quick look at how many people each month in the UK (based on an average of the last 12 months using statistics from look for help setting up a business:

  • 22,000 people per month search “how to start a business” in the UK
  • 24,800 search “business ideas”
  • 9,300 search “start up loans”

In all 3 cases, these are keywords on the ride exhibiting the highest searches since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

Is it a fair assumption, then, that the next set of start up statistics from the Government will show a sharp increase in businesses started as furlough or redundancy brought about by Covid gave people the push to launch?

We’ll find out in the coming months.

If you’re a startup or thinking of starting. up, you may find this useful – our round up of start up and small business grants in the UK. There are a lot of cash grants and free support options available.


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