A RECORD number of new businesses were established in Herefordshire through the challenges of coronavirus.

Herefordshire's entrepreneurial spirit was on show despite the economic challenges resulting from the pandemic, with latest figures showing that more new businesses were established in Herefordshire during 2021 than in any previous year.

In total 2,858 new companies were registered in the county compared to 2,327 during 2020.

This brings the total number of registered companies in Herefordshire to 14,830, up from 12,800 at the end of 2020.

The statistics come from the Inform Direct Review of Company Formations using data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics.

John Korchak, operations director at Inform Direct said: “It is excellent news to see that Herefordshire has achieved a record year for new company formations during 2021 despite the continuing challenges of the pandemic.

“The retail sector saw the largest number of new companies (702) which may be the result of pent-up demand after the lockdowns of 2020 and early 2021 and people looking to spend their income in different ways as a result of widespread restrictions on travel and entertainment. This was followed by real estate with 231 new incorporations.

“The record number of new company formations demonstrates an active economy with entrepreneurs motivated to invest in new businesses which meet current and emerging demands for goods or services. The overall picture for the UK as a whole is also an optimistic one with the total number of companies now exceeding five million for the very first time.”

The UK saw 771,617 new businesses formed, compared to 780,760 in 2020. The overall number of UK companies totalled 5,005,147, a 3.5 per cent increase on the total of 4,837,426 at the end of 2020. This continues a ten-year trend which shows the number of businesses in the UK doubling in that period.

Whilst company formations grew, the number of dissolutions across the UK – 606,912 during 2021 – hit a record high. Reasons for this may be that new enterprises set up early in the pandemic may no longer be operating as people have returned to full-time employment or businesses thriving pre-COVID-19 have suffered as behavioural and spending patterns have changed.