Start-up boom as over 40,000 new businesses launched in Scotland in 2023 – up 12% on 2022

James Holian, head of business banking at the Royal Bank of Scotland

SCOTLAND is experiencing a start-up boom, with over 40,000 new businesses setting up shop last year – an increase of 12% on the number of new companies incorporated in 2022.

This makes Scotland the third fastest growing region in the UK for newly registered businesses in 2023, after Northern Ireland (+59%) and London (+20%).

Last year the uplift in growth in Scotland was driven in the property letting space, with 2,440 new businesses starting in the sector. 2,148 new online retail businesses also began operating and in third place 1,839 new takeaway shops and street food stands set up shop in 2023.

The news comes as Beauhurst and the Royal Bank of Scotland’s New Startup Index reveals that 2023 was a record year for new company incorporations in the UK with 900,000 set up last year, a 12% increase on the number of new businesses registered in 2022.

The growth in female founded businesses also continues to increase year on year, with a record 164,000 companies incorporated by women in the UK in 2023, up 4% on 2022 and taking growth in the five years between 2019 and 2023 to 26% overall.

James Holian, Head of Business Banking at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said:

“It’s absolutely brilliant news that some 40,000 new businesses have decided to make Scotland their home in 2023. These new ventures are predominantly small businesses, owned and run by local people, which will play a crucial role in supporting the growth of Scotland’s economy.

“At the Royal Bank of Scotland we believe we have a key role to play in supporting businesses not only to start-up, but to scale and succeed. The Accelerator programme stands as a beacon of this commitment. In the past 12 months alone, this free initiative has supported 1,300 scale-up leaders of which more than half were female-led businesses and 21% ethnic minority-led ventures. Businesses can apply for our first cohort of 2024 until 16 February.

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