OECD: Number of UK start-ups exceeds pre-crisis levels

The UK has undergone “robust growth” in the number of start-up companies and the rate now exceeds pre-crisis levels, according to a report by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD).

The UK now has one of the highest rates of start-up companies in the OECD, ahead of both the US and Germany. There were 103 new UK companies established in the second quarter of 2010, while 122 were established in the fourth quarter of 2011.

“Start-up rates fell precipitously from mid-2008 in all OECD countries where data are available. Momentum slowed again in early-2011 in most countries but has since shown tentative signs of a pick-up,” the OECD reveals in its Entrepreneurship at a Glance 2012 report.

France has demonstrated the largest increase in new businesses, attributed to a simplification of the necessary procedure or “regime de l’auto-entrepreneur.” Although the numbers are down from a peak of 233 in the fourth quarter of 2009, 191 companies were established in the three months ending December 2011.

However, most OECD members have failed to bring the number of registered bankruptcies down to pre-crisis levels, suggesting a difficult environment for fledgling businesses is still prevalent.

Nowhere does this appear to be case more than in the US where bankruptcies swelled from 150 in mid-2007 to over 300 by mid-2009. This figure had dipped below 250 towards the end of 2011 but remained well above the second most troubled environment, Spain, which reported approximately 175.