The increase of business start-ups since COVID

Published on
24 March 2022

Did lockdown make you want to batten down the hatches – or were you itching to get out of the house and start something new? 

If it’s the latter, you’re by no means alone: new business start-ups in the first nine months of 2020 rose by 9.5% against the same period in 2019. 

At Quantum, we love helping people with an entrepreneurial spirit launch their own recruitment consultancies. Read on for our insights into the exciting landscape of post-lockdown start-ups.

‘COVID economy’

The UK is full of people with bright business ideas – and lockdown proved to be the impetus that many needed to turn their dreams into reality. 

Analysis from the Centre for Entrepreneurs in September 2020 found that well over half-a-million companies had been launched in the UK since the beginning of the year. 

Companies in the ‘COVID economy’ boomed: between July and August, those manufacturing soaps and detergents grew by 64% year-on-year, while disinfecting services saw a whopping 70% rise. And, unsurprisingly, businesses selling by mail order or the internet increased by 58%. 

Such rapid growth is great for business – but makes it more important than ever to get the right people on board. Start-ups are likely to lack in-house recruitment expertise, which is where Quantum consultants come in!

‘Wave of entrepreneurialism’

Meanwhile, an analysis of HMRC data by chartered accountants UHY Hacker Young found that more start-ups were launched in March 2021 than in any other month since records began in 1989. 

There were almost 726,000 new UK start-ups in 2020 against just over 636,000 in 2019, putting the UK in the top five of 22 countries studied by UHY.

Martin Jones of UHY Hacker Young’s London office said: “Entrepreneurs in the UK have really used the pandemic and lockdowns as a springboard to start businesses… We now look back on the last global financial crisis as a period where many of the UK’s leading fintech businesses were started. In a decade it’s likely we will see the pandemic period as a similarly crucial period for entrepreneurialism.”

So now is the time for UK recruitment consultants to get ahead of the game! Your industry experience and skills are needed to help start-ups grow.

Business closures

Of course, we’re not trying to pretend it’s all good news. As UHY Hacker Young highlights, many of those new companies were created by people who’d been furloughed or had lost their jobs. 

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that the UK economy, as measured by GDP, shrank by a record 19.8% in the second quarter of 2020, with hospitality firms particularly badly hit. Huge numbers of businesses have closed their doors for good. 

So how can COVID-era start-ups ensure they thrive when so many businesses are failing?

“Hiring well”

For Paul Wickers of gifting platform Huggg, which launched a few years before the pandemic in 2017, success is down to spotting a gap in the market, following his gut instinct, and being resourceful and willing to learn. 

But he adds: “I’ve also found that hiring well is essential, everything else is academic if you don’t have a good team around you.”

At Quantum, we couldn’t agree more! It’s all about getting the right people on board. 

Find out more about joining our network of international recruitment consultants by contacting us today.