Most entrepreneurial areas in the UK


In the last year, life has not been easy for any of us. The Coronavirus pandemic changed the way we work and has shut some businesses down. Many of us have had to make changes to improve our circumstances. For some of us, that has included starting new businesses.

Some people have transformed their hobbies into a way to make money. Other people may have lost their jobs and are now setting out in the same sector on their own. Whatever their reasons, these new businesses have improved many of our lives.

Over the last 11 months, around 400,000 new businesses across the sectors registered in the UK.

There is one area of the country where more people have started new businesses during this time. This area is smaller than you may expect, but it is a location that makes the most sense for a new business.

What are the most entrepreneurial areas of the UK?

The area where most businesses have started up is in Ilford. A large town in Essex, Ilford is also part of the London borough of Redbridge. It’s a town with a large retail sector and is within easy commuting distance of London.

When you consider the location and the focus on retail. You can see why so many decided it was time to start a new business. The pandemic may have made it difficult for those who worked in an office to commute in.

The people working retail within the town itself may have been furloughed in early 2020. The nonessential shops were able to reopen in June, but the closures still affected them.

Even after things had started to open up again, many would have come to prefer being their own boss. Especially when you consider the later lockdown between December 2020 and April 2021.

What other areas experience entrepreneurial growth?

Ilford is not the only town or city in a London borough to reach this list. All but Manchester are at least within easy commuting distance of the capital. Dagenham and Romford, which are also towns in London Boroughs, came third and fourth on this list.

Ember found that around 25% of all new businesses were in the London area. That includes the city and the surrounding boroughs. Ilford may have been the town with the largest growth in business, but it wasn’t the only part of London to grow.

According to the research, several other boroughs were starting points for new businesses. London experienced a lot of growth. That they grew even whilst shut down for months at a time is impressive.

Though few cities made this list, we can speculate that they have experienced some growth too. The cities and the towns around them appear to be where most people want to be starting up businesses. That is likely due to work difficulties within the pandemic. It’s not unusual for people to live outside the city they work in for affordable housing. Many people will commute to work and not just in the capital. Those people may have had to start new businesses to get more money in.

Now that businesses are open again, it’s difficult to say if the growth in new businesses will ease off. We may instead find that more people would rather work for themselves.

How was this list pulled together?

A chief figure at Cloud-Accounting app Ember wanted to see how business had changed. Every single new business has to register with the Companies House. What Ember wanted to know, was how many had registered since June 2020.

Ilford reached the number one spot with a ratio of 1.5663%, yet none of the top ten had a ratio score beneath 1%. What this suggests is that the top areas had a similar amount of growth. Though the majority of the list was around London, Manchester did also reach the list.

What we can speculate, but not confirm, is that this growth is connected to the pandemic. Though these are all businesses that do well during a standard year, the numbers do seem high. For people who may have lost their jobs or who were furloughed, a new business may have been what they needed. When you look at the stats, that appears to be a good reason why people might have been starting new businesses.

What types of business are people starting?

With the internet, it is a lot easier for people to start a new business now. If someone has the inclination to do the research and the time on their hands. Anyone can start a business online.

Unsurprisingly, 26,000 new businesses registered as e-commerce companies. E-commerce is a great way to get started in retail. You can sell your products online, then mail them out to the customers. For many people over the last 11 months, this has been the primary way that they shop. For a new store starting, this would have been ideal for them.

The category with the second-highest number of new businesses was management consultancy. Specifically, not financial consultancy. It is tough to speculate from the research why this might be. It is possibly linked with the location of where a lot of these companies are based.

It is also difficult to say what these management services were. The information given by the Companies House does not go into further detail. Around 14,000 of the companies registered with this last year fitted into this category.

Finally, the third most common category is other services. That could contain anyone from dog walkers to tattoo artists to genealogists. The amount of variety within this category means that there will have been a lot of new companies. They may have all been offering different services, but they would have been in the same category.

Business Trends

Business goes through trends just as often as any other sector. It is worth noting that though we say this all happened within the last year. A lot of the growth occurred within the past 11 months.

Of the research, Daniel Hogan from Ember, said “It’s fascinating to see the trends and themes that emerge when we look at the UK’s newest entrepreneurs. The country has had to adapt to massive changes over the past year so despite the uncertainty. It’s inspiring to see so many people taking the initiative to set up their own business.”

The statistics seem to suggest that younger generations are showing more interest. Millennials and Generation Z appear to be starting more businesses. Over the last 11 months, the number of businesses started by Millenials and Gen Z has skyrocketed. Together accounted for 56.8% of all new businesses. Millennials are now reaching an age where starting a business seems possible. Generation X and Baby Boomers are both still starting businesses, but there are fewer of them.

A lot of the towns on this list are London boroughs, but they also are not locations that people talk about as often. You would expect London to be on the list, and to an extent, it is. You would also expect Manchester. What was surprising was that there weren’t more cities.

Which generation has been starting the new businesses?

Millennials – people currently between the ages of 25 and 40 – were the largest age group to form new companies. Realistically, this makes a lot of sense. They’re within the age range of people who will have started to earn enough money. So now they would have the capital be starting their businesses. The millennials count for around 49% of all these new businesses.

There is a gap between the first and second place of more than 10%. Generation X – people currently aged between 41 and 56 – founded around 33% of these new businesses. Once again, this makes sense. They are one of the groups that will likely have had access to startup capital.

This gap lengthens between the Baby Boomers, people over the age of 57. They’re followed by Generation Z, people between 16 and 24. Due to the larger pool of Baby Boomers, it’s no surprise that they came in third.

But what is interesting is the proportions. Though, more Baby Boomers started businesses over the last year. It was still a smaller amount of their generation. There are fewer people within Generation Z who can start a business.

Yet proportionally, more people within that smaller generation started a business. Whether this is just because the population of the generation is smaller, we have yet to see. In the future, we may discover that younger people are more interested in business.

For now, the Millenials and people in Ilford are the most entrepreneurial group in the UK.


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