Trading conditions have been harsh for many businesses during the pandemic, but new research has revealed that it’s also caused a spike in the launch of new ventures.
According to a recent survey by tech developer Studio Graphene, COVID-19 has actually created fresh opportunities for many entrepreneurs, with 8% of those polled starting their own business during the pandemic, with an additional 10% either planning something or following suit.
Far from seeing a lack of opportunities, 36% of the new business owners said they’d identified a gap in the market for products or services, often as a direct result of the pandemic itself. A further 40% said that time spent furloughed or even being faced with redundancy had driven them to do their own thing business-wise.
Somewhat surprisingly, official figures from Companies House show that between April and September of this year there were 397,135 company incorporations. That’s up by over 57,000 on the same time last year. However, the research also found that 32% of potential new business plans were scuppered after entrepreneurs discovered that someone else was already doing the same thing.
Meanwhile, 40% of those questioned stated that they’d seen a product or service during COVID-19 that they would want to launch themselves. Some 42% of those polled have gone on to undertake an online course, or have read books to research their own potential business venture.
Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “The rise of the ‘kitchen table entrepreneur’ is encouraging to see. Although 2020 has been riddled with challenges for businesses of all shapes and sizes, our data shows that there is a clear silver lining.
In many ways, the pandemic has created a perfect storm for entrepreneurship: huge market shifts, much more time in our own homes and a surge in furloughs and redundancies. And, a bit like the 2008 financial crisis, this state of flux has created many new opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs, so it’s positive that so many people have been inspired to act.
Whether these new ventures are side projects or people’s sole way of making a living, the UK’s status as a global entrepreneurial hub has clearly not faltered. In the months and years to come, I’m sure we’ll all be reading about the successful startups that were born out of the coronavirus crisis, and this should inspire many others to take the leap and start their own business.”