The state of UK businesses can be described as healthy as almost 700,000 new firms were launched in the UK last year, as growing high-tech firms snapped up more than £10bn in venture capital investment

Last year 681,704 new businesses were launched in Britain, a 2.8 per cent rise compared to a year ago, according to information gathered by LearnBonds.

The record number of start-ups in 2019 is noteworthy considering the UK was in its third year of prolonged Brexit negotiations, which has hit business investment and confidence.

UK tech firms attracted £10.1bn from private equity firms last year, a 44 per cent jump compared to a year ago which broke the industry’s all-time high set in 2017.

This UK figure topped global digital new business funding, including in the US and China, where investment fell 20 per cent and 65 per cent respectively, according to research this week from UK digital lobby group Tech Nation and data body Dealroom.

Top ten UK business regions – by new firms registered in 2019

Greater London – 221,373

Birmingham  – 14,509

Manchester – 9,064

Leeds – 7,492

Glasgow – 6,733

Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch – 5,627

Bromsgrove – 5,522

Liverpool – 5,421

Edinburgh – 5,155

Leicester – 5,060

Across Europe, the UK picked up a third of Europe’s £30.4bn total tech funding. It attracted more cash than Germany and France combined, which came in second and third place at £5.4bn and £3.4bn across the region.

More widely in the UK, new firms were launched in over 700 different industries, according to the Centre for Entrepreneurs’ research. This included ten companies which registered their main activity as raising llamas and alpacas, as well as the formation of 429 driving schools in 2019.

“It is encouraging that despite a politically turbulent year in which business confidence hit new lows, business formations continued to set records,” said Matt Smith, director of policy and research at the Centre for Entrepreneurs.

Britain’s 5.9 million small firms employed 16.6 million workers at the start of 2019, turning over £2.2trn in annual sales, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

LearnBonds news editor Roger Baird said: “The rate of new firms starting up in the UK is remarkable, considering how global trade tensions and Brexit have knocked business confidence. Napoleon once dismissed the British as a nation of shopkeepers. France now longs for the same level of entrepreneurial zeal that drives Britons to be their own boss.”