Boom in number of student entrepreneurs

  |     |   Student Living

The number of companies registered by students has increased each year since 2019 with the total spiking significantly in 2022, research has shown.

Companies House data analysed by student accommodation provider Fresh showed a total of 4,093 businesses were registered by students in 2022, with the vast majority launched by those aged just 18-25.

This rate of change year on year is vast. In 2021 just 847 companies were created by students, creating a YoY rise of nearly 400%. To ensure the pandemic did not skew the results, Fresh also reviewed the data for a more normal landscape in 2019 and found 515 companies were launched by students.



These numbers align with other studies which suggest the pandemic drove many young people to start-up a business. A 2022 study across more than 2.3 million UK businesses showed the percentage of start-up owners aged under 35 had more than doubled since March 2020, rising from 16.4% to 34%.

Among this group, the proportion aged 18-24 soared from just 1.7% pre-pandemic, to 8.6% in the two years after the Covid-19 outbreak.

In terms of student entrepreneur hotspots, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Nottingham and Bristol had the highest number of start-ups outside of London last year. The table below reveals the top 10 cities for student entrepreneurship.


The majority of the new businesses last year were registered as ‘retail sales via mail order houses or via the internet’ which covers the online retail trade. In addition, advertising agencies were launched as well as hairdressing and beauty treatment businesses. Other interesting trades included the sale of used cars, publishing of computer games and the launch of unlicensed restaurants or cafes.

Sam Scott, Managing Director of Fresh, said: “The spike in numbers following the pandemic shows a desire for increasing numbers of students to carve their own path. It’s great to see this goes beyond a London-centric trend and can be seen across the UK."

“The ambition and talent displayed by the student population as they pursue their own businesses is hugely impressive. Starting any kind of business, whether it’s to pursue a hobby or grow it into a larger company, requires digging deep for determination and focus.”

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