UK Food delivery and collection - stock image

The financial hardship and job uncertainty experienced by many during the coronavirus pandemic has provided the final push for thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs to start their food collection and delivery businesses, according to new research.

Over 600 (634) new food businesses were created by Britons on furlough, while the number of registrations by those made redundant increased by a third from last year to create 1,450 new companies, signalling a wave of enforced entrepreneurs.

Fourteen per cent of new food collection and delivery registrations – around 1,270 enterprises – were the result of a need for an extra source of income, according to research published in the Boom or Bust: Beginning a business in a pandemic report published by The Accountancy Partnership.

While unemployment and money struggles played a significant part in this surge of business registrations, almost half (46 per cent) of entrepreneurs who started businesses during Covid said they had always wanted to be self-employed or own a business.

Lee Murphy, managing director of The Accountancy Partnership, said: “Starting a business is notoriously difficult, even in normal times, so it was somewhat unexpected to see new businesses in their hundreds of thousands being set up last year.

“Our research shows that many lockdown entrepreneurs saw creating their own takeaway food businesses as their only option after being made redundant or facing other financial troubles, but the statistic of those fulfilling longer-term dreams of owning a business is hugely encouraging.

“It means that even businesses launched out of necessity have people behind them with a genuine desire to be business owners. This enthusiasm will help fledgling businesses thrive despite the adverse circumstances of their inceptions.”

Murphy continued: “The notion of turning a hobby into a source of income has been on the rise for a few years, especially as more people become aware that the first £1,000 of trading income per year is tax-free. The pandemic has presented many people with the time and opportunity to turn a side hustle into their main source of income. Again, it is promising that there are people with a genuine passion for what they are doing behind these businesses and 13 per cent of people who started a business from a side hustle last year want it to become their full-time job.

“The ‘lockdown-preneurs’ have some difficult waters ahead of them as we navigate the rest of the pandemic and the recovery period,' he added, 'but our research suggests that there are enthusiastic, passionate people behind a significant number of lockdown businesses and that is critical to success.”

The Accountancy Partnership offers online accountancy services, including a dedicated accountant, completion of accounts and tax returns, and online accounting software to businesses nationwide for a low, fixed monthly fee. Services are available to limited companies, partnerships, sole traders, contractors, start-ups and limited liability partnerships.