Pandemic supercharges UK entrepreneurship rates; growing 101% year-on-year
To shed light on the impact that the global health crisis – and ongoing recovery – has had on small businesses globally, Mastercard today releases a new report – Recovery Insights: Small Business Reset. Findings show that the UK has the fastest growing rate of entrepreneurship globally, with the pace of small business creation growing by 101% from 2019 to 2020, yet it remains to be seen if these businesses have the tools they need to succeed post pandemic.
Despite this exponential growth, the report, which examined 19 markets around the world, confirms the challenges these business owners will have faced during the pandemic. Globally small businesses were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and in the UK 29% of those that were forced to close at the start of the crisis remained shut six months later, with small businesses 2.9 times more likely to remain closed long term than large businesses.
The data also reveals the importance of technology in supporting small businesses through the pandemic, with 36% more merchants accepting e-commerce sales in 2020 for the first time vs. 2019. Separate research commissioned by Mastercard from the Cebr found 41% of small business owners believe their company would not have survived without digital tools. This rapid digital adoption is a trend set to increase in years to come, with the Cebr report also finding that around half of small business owners believe technology will become more important to their company’s success over the next five years, and identifying an estimated £827bn growth opportunity over the next five years if small businesses are supported to embrace digital.
Supporting small business owners is an ongoing priority for Mastercard. It recently launched Strive UK, an initiative that will empower British micro and small enterprises to thrive in the digital economy through free advisory services, helpful tools, and personalised, one-to-one mentoring.
Kelly Devine, president UK and Ireland, Mastercard, comments: “We know that the pandemic has hit small businesses hard, but the good news is that it has not damaged the UK’s fierce entrepreneurial spirit. As more small businesses are created, we must support them with the digital skills they need to thrive in the post-pandemic economy, and initiatives like Strive UK will be critical to this. In doing so, we will create a thriving small business ecosystem in the UK, in which entrepreneurs can operate with confidence and ultimately, success.”