Start-ups surpass 20,000 for first time in almost 20 years

New figures show total number of insolvencies has fallen to lowest since 2008


More than 20,000 new company start-ups were established in the Republic last year, the highest number in almost two decades.

New figures provided by business and credit risk analyst Vision-net show 20,977 start-ups were officially registered in 2016, a rise of 8 per cent on the previous year.

This marks the first time that start-ups have surpassed 20,000 in a single year since 1998, when 21,144 companies were established. It is also the second highest number recorded for 36 years.

The finance sector recorded a 44 per cent rise in new company start-ups in 2016 with 2,959 firms, followed by construction, where the number of new start-ups jumped 14 per cent to 1,640 from 1,876 in 2015.

Professional services was the most popular industry for new company start-ups overall with 4,079 established last year, an increase of 5 per cent on the 3,891 in 2015.

The second most popular industry for new start-ups was finance, followed by wholesale and retail, which accounted for 2,204 new start-ups.


Most sectors saw a fall in insolvencies, with wholesale and retail leading the way with a 26 per cent drop.

The most insolvent industry was professional services, which accounted for 213 insolvencies. However, this was still a small drop on 2015’s figure. Construction was the second most insolvent industry, but the number decreased by 4 per cent versus the prior year.

Dublin accounted for the most company start-ups and insolvencies in 2016. It accounted for 45.5 per cent of all new formations.

“Geographically Dublin still leads the way in economic activity, tailed by an increasingly energised Cork. However, regional imbalance still persists,” said Vision-net managing director Christine Cullen.

However, she said the 2016 figures “clearly demonstrate Ireland’s economic resurgence”.

Consistent growth

“Our economy is more open to lending and risk-taking, and our businesses are eager to expand and undertake new projects,” she said.

“Our economy is also diversifying. Ireland’s professional services sector, along with our finance, construction, tech, manufacturing and hospitality sectors, are buoyant.”