North West ‘homepreneurs’ take advantage of lockdown opportunities

The North West was the third most prolific region for new business formations since lockdown began.

Figures from business finance provider Capital on Tap revealed that a total of 375,670 new businesses were registered since lockdown began on March 23.

By region, London featured the most, with a total of 135,074, followed by the South East (42,774), then the North West with 37,317 new businesses founded.

Perhaps predictably, the online retail sector saw the highest number of new businesses, accounting for 5.4% (19,852) of all total registrations, followed by property development (3.6%), management consultancy (3.5%), development & construction (3.4%), and property letting (three per cent).

In the North West, the most popular sector for business formations was mail order and online retail with 2,351 new businesses (6.3%), followed by property development – 1,361 (3.6%), then building & construction – 1,278 (3.4%), management consultancy – 1,193 (3.2%), property letting – 1,117 (three per cent), food prep & delivery – 1,010 (2.7%), freight & haulage – 957 (2.6%), business support services – 949 (2.5%), beauty – 740 (two per cent), and health & wellbeing – 587 (1.6%).

The top 10 council areas for new businesses were: Manchester – 5,549; Liverpool – 3,314; Cheshire East – 1,874; Salford – 1,838; Bolton – 1,736; Cheshire West and Chester – 1,640; Stockport – 1,542; Trafford – 1,521; Oldham – 1,340; Warrington – 1,325.

It’s likely that many of these businesses were founded by ‘homepreneurs’ who are using the extra time spent at home to turn their skills and hobbies into online businesses using services like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy as shop windows.

The food preparation sector also saw a large number of new registrations accounting for 2.1% of all new businesses.

Examples of the types of businesses in this category include street food vendors, food stalls, and delivery or take-away only restaurants.

This suggests that, while eating indoors in traditional settings has been disrupted by coronavirus restrictions, entrepreneurs seized the opportunity to start mobile food stalls and vans, taking their food directly to the people, instead.

Third-party food delivery services such as Just Eat, Deliveroo, UberEats, and even social media apps like Instagram have also made it easier for people to start and promote small businesses from their own kitchens, turning their talent and passion for cooking and baking into a source of income.

In June, Uber Eats announced that it had almost doubled the number of restaurants on the app in just four months, resulting in a sales increase of 160% as lockdown fueled demand.

David Luck, Capital on Tap chief executive, said: “The disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on people, businesses, and the global economy, so it’s inspiring to see so many entrepreneurs backing themselves and seizing the opportunity to start their own businesses.

“With remote working increasing our reliance on technology, it’s not surprising to see digital and IT businesses dominating the list of the most common new registrations, however, the increase in online retail and food delivery businesses would seem to suggest that large numbers of people are starting new business ventures from home and using online marketplaces and delivery apps to turn their passions into successful small businesses.”