Peterborough business boom: more than 2,500 new firms registered in 2020

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A total of 2,511 businesses were formed in Peterborough last year, compared to 1,987 in 2019 (Picture: Shariqua Ahmed)

Figures show that a total of 2,511 companies were formed in Peterborough, with 7,516 formed in Cambridgeshire as a whole. This means a third of all new companies formed in the county in 2020 were Peterborough-based.

Cambridgeshire came 24th in a national league table, compiled by Inform Direct based on data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics.

In 2019, there were 1,987 new companies registered in Peterborough, meaning 2020 saw a growth of 26.3%.

The infographic below shows the figures - including where new businesses were set up in Peterborough. Most were in the city centre, but Bretton North saw 156 new businesses created (and 28 dissolved), while Paston saw 198 new companies (with 30 dissolved).

Inform Direct Infographic - Company formations in Cambridgeshire 2020

John Korchak, operations director at Inform Direct, said the figures were "excellent news" amid economic uncertainties - but also a sign of the times as more employees were made redundant as a result of the economic fallout from the pandemic.

"Many of the new company formations are in the retail sector, with a large number of new businesses set up to sell goods online or locally, thereby taking advantage of customers’ changing shopping habits," he said.

"Secondly, the effect of the pandemic and national lockdowns means that sadly some existing businesses have folded and employees made redundant, and we see many of those people setting up new ventures on their own as an alternative way to earn a living."

"2020 was a year like no other for UK businesses. Although we can look forward to a brighter future with the vaccination programme, there remain unknown factors such as how quickly the economy will recover and of course the impact of Brexit."

On the whole, the UK saw a record-breaking 780,766 new businesses formed, compared to 690,763 in 2019, the Inform Direct study found.

The overall number of UK companies rose to 4,837,426 - an 8.2% increase on the total of 4,471,008 at the end of 2019.

At the same time the number of company dissolutions  during 2020 across the UK at 418,427 was the lowest since 2015.

Inform Direct suggested it remained "open to debate" whether this positive trend would last beyond the period when government support was in place.

"New enterprises set up during the pandemic might also be short-lived, as people return to full-time employment or struggle to take the business to the next level," it said.