Start-up boom sees rise in rural entrepreneurs

More and more Britons are choosing to set up their own business

IP image

In the past 12 months, more than 100,000 rural micro businesses have been established.

Data from Venture Forward, an annual international research initiative by GoDaddy, shows that 26% of Britain's micro businesses are based rurally, up from 24% in 2022. This equates to 94,464 start-ups over the past 12 months. The findings also reveal that women now account for more than 44% of rural entrepreneurs, up from 33% in 2022. By comparison, 35% of urban micro business owners are women.

The data shows that rural entrepreneurs tend to be older than their city-based counterparts – 39% of those running rural businesses are over 50, compared with 26% of urban micro business owners.

Retail and consumer businesses dominate in the countryside economy, accounting for 14% of ventures. Entertainment and the arts accounts for 10%, followed by IT and technology (8%), professional and business services (7%) and education (6%).

Starting a business on a shoestring

The increased availability of online tools and services could be playing a major role in the thriving countryside economy, according to the report. Two in five rural businesses (43%) were started for less than £1,000, with a further 21% of entrepreneurs requiring less than £5,000 of capital to start trading. Three-quarters (75%) of rural businesses employ at least one other person.

However, rural firms are not immune to the cost-of-living pressures faced by many others. More than three-quarters (77%) have seen their energy bills increase over the past year, with transport (44%), raw materials (43%), production (24%) and staff (17%) among other fixed costs that have risen. In spite of this, 80% of rural entrepreneurs expect to grow in 2023, with just 9% predicting a fall in turnover.

Rise in UK start-ups continues

The latest figures from Companies House indicate that almost half a million UK start-ups launched in the first six months of 2023. According to analysis by Enterprise Nation, 431,060 businesses were registered in the first six months of 2023 to the end of June. The surge in start-ups reflects an ongoing trend: 784,762 businesses were registered at Companies House in 2022, compared with 670,575 in 2019.

Meanwhile, the self-employed population also continues to grow according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics: there are 64,000 more self-employed than this time last year. This means that the self-employed population has undergone four consecutive quarters of growth; there are now 4.3m self-employed people operating in the UK.

Use our small business guides to market your practice to this growing sector

There is a growing market for the self-employed and demand for services of accountants to provide the vital support that small businesses need at the start of their lifetime.

Essential guide to basic bookkeeping

Essential guide to income tax self-assessment

Essential guide to annual accounts

Essential guide to basic accounting

Brought to you in conjunction with Atom Content Marketing. Offering practical advice to help small businesses succeed.