Nearly 100,000 new businesses were started in England and Wales in the first quarter of 2008.
The figure – the highest since the same time the year before – showed the resilience of business startups in the face of the credit crunch, according to Barclays.
Among the 98,000 new start-up businesses, the most popular sector was in financial services, followed by construction and the retail sector.John Davis, marketing director for local business at Barclays, said: “Small business entrepreneurs are finding opportunities in the market place.
They are entering in reduced numbers, reflecting an uncertainty over short-term economic prospects, but clearly there’s a feeling there is never a bad time to start a good business.
“We do anticipate further modest reductions in both start-ups and closures during the remainder of the year, set against the high numbers in recent years.”
The data collected by Barclays also showed the impact of foreign nationals on small businesses in the UK. It suggested that 10 per cent of mainstream businesses and 15 per cent of start-ups in 2007 involved an owner-manager from outside of the UK.
“These figures show the great contribution being made to the UK economy by non-UK nationals,” said Mr Davis.
“There is a lot of skilled labour going into these start-ups - for instance, in the health, education, and social work sectors, where over one in six start-ups have involvement from non-UK nationals.
“Unsurprisingly, the greatest contribution of these individuals to the business market is in London, where last year they were involved in nearly 30 per cent of SMEs and more than 35 per cent of start-ups. They also play an important role in the business life of a number of urban areas outside of the capital.”
The major sectors to benefit from the involvement of non-UK nationals include the construction, wholesale, retail, hotels and catering and business services industries sectors.