Startup Statistics UK 2020

3 months ago

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 analysed the figures and have compiled a list of must know startup. statistics for 2020.

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

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’s more than 1 company formation per minute.

That’s well over half a million new start ups in the UK despite 2018 to 2019 being a year full very much of Brexit uncertainty.

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.

Year one has had way more highs than lows. But as I approach the end of this first year, I'm reflecting on the good and bad. 

I surpassed my targets, that's the main thing. But now I face the challenge of meeting year two's targets and I enter year two with an employee, which brings with it lots of new things I've never dealt with before.

Hana Bednarova Founder - Bednar Comms

I think that just getting started was the hardest thing I've done so far - taking that leap and not knowing for sure whether I'd still be able to pay my bills in 6 months.

Year one was great. Targets smashed. Year two has been harder. Targets still hit, but it didn't come as easily as year one. Still, I enjoy it all and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

Stacey MacNaught Founder - MacNaught Digital

    Start Up Aspiration in 2020

    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 2020

    It’s clear the UK’s startup scene is bustling in 2020. We’ll start over half a million businesses in 2020 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?

    One thing is clear. Despite all the political uncertainty, Brits continue to start up here in huge numbers.

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