Number of start-ups increased 10% in first quarter, data shows

Hospitality sector saw 13% increase in the number of company start-ups, but also a high number of insolvencies

There was an almost 10 per cent increase in the number of company start-ups recorded in the first quarter of 2024 compared with the same period last year, new figures show.

The latest data from credit risk analyst CRIFVision-net shows there was 17 per cent growth in company start-ups in Dublin, from 2,306 to 2,706.

However, despite the near double-digit growth in start-ups at a national level, the first three months of the year have “proven challenging” for several high-profile industries, the group said.

Counties with large urban populations including Cork (-2 per cent) and Limerick (unchanged) experienced a slow first quarter in new start-ups. Galway, however, recorded a 24 per cent year-on-year growth rate.


Key economic sectors including construction (7 per cent), manufacturing (10 per cent) and IT (21 per cent) all recorded start-up growth. Sectors such as property (23 per cent) and legal, accounting and business (23 per cent) also saw positive double-digit growth.

Sectors including education (-5 per cent), electricity, gas and water supply (-8 per cent), and agriculture, hunting and forestry (-32 per cent) experienced year-on-year quarterly decreases.

Outside of the large urban populations, Donegal (22 per cent), Mayo (14 per cent) and Wicklow (10 per cent) saw positive growth.

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January was the busiest month for new company start-ups in the quarter, with 2,059 new companies registered in the first 31 days of the year.

Overall, there was a 13 per cent increase in the number of company start-ups in the hospitality sector, despite insolvencies among hotels and restaurants increasing by 132 per cent in the same period year-on-year.

January was a particularly difficult month for the sector, with 1,916 insolvencies, versus 639 for the same month in 2023.

The group said that while the reasons for high numbers of insolvencies in the sector are already well established – VAT, energy, electricity and insurance costs – the data suggests entrepreneurs are “undeterred” by the wider challenges facing the sector.

Christine Cullen, managing director of CRIFVision-net, said the first three months of the year show “a diverse economic picture”.

“At a high level, it is encouraging to see company start-ups increase by 10 per cent year-on-year,” she said. “However, within this, numerous prominent sectors continue to face difficulties.

“The challenges facing the hospitality industry have been well documented and this is borne out in the dramatic spike in insolvencies across the sector. Despite this backdrop, it is encouraging to see new hospitality start-ups grow by 13 per cent year-on-year.”

Taoiseach Simon Harris has committed to providing €250 million towards supporting small businesses with increased costs.

Ms Cullen said these supports “will be critical” in stemming the recent increases in insolvencies and helping small businesses weather the continued inflationary pressures.

“In broader economic terms, construction start-ups grew by 7 per cent,” she continued. “However, insolvencies grew by 46 per cent.

“At a time of when our new Taoiseach has committed to building 250,000 new homes between now and 2030, it is important that we are creating and supporting a thriving construction sector capable of delivering upon these targets.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter