Ireland records highest start-up figures in 13 years, while the amount of insolvencies remain low

Christine Cullen, Managing Director of CRIF Vision-net.

A business information company has said that its latest figures show that Ireland’s economy is flourishing despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

The data from business and credit risk analyst, CRIF Vision-net, show an average of almost 71 new companies were formed every day in the first quarter of 2019, while the number of insolvencies remained consistent for the same period.

In total, 6,413 new companies were formed in Ireland in the first quarter of 2019, the best Q1 figures in the past 13 years, up almost 14% on the previously record-breaking Q1, 2018.

Professional services was the biggest contributor to new start-ups in the quarter which saw 1,448 new start-ups representing a 22% increase on this time last year.

Social and personal services grew by 50% with 945 new companies, while the third largest sector was financial services which, however, fell by 1% to 708 new start-up companies (compared to 715 in Q1 2018).

Construction saw a modest 1% growth during this time.

In total, 12 counties recorded double-digit growth in start-ups in Quarter One with Dublin recording the highest number, 3,089, amounting to almost 50% of the total number of start-ups established.

Cork followed with 690 new companies in the first quarter, up 13.3%, with Galway coming in third with 236 new start-ups, down by just 1.2% on the first quarter of 2018. Limerick saw 210 new start-ups created, representing a 7.7% increase on the same period last year.

The growth in company start-ups wasn’t limited to the counties with the largest urban populations. Louth (up 21%), Donegal (up 16.5%), Kerry (up 7%), Wicklow (up 14%) and Wexford (up 38%) all saw significant increases in new company start-ups.

2018 saw an almost 26% year-on-year drop in insolvencies when compared to 2017 and in the first quarter of this year, insolvencies have remained relatively low at 192, equating to an average of two a day.

It compares to a total of 186 in the same period for 2018.

Wholesale and retail was the most insolvent sector in the first three months of 2019 with 31 recorded insolvencies, up 34.8% on the Q1 figures for 2018. It was equalled by professional services also with 31 recorded insolvencies, up 10.7% on the first quarter of 2018 and was followed by the construction sector with 25 recorded insolvencies, down by 13.8% on Q1 2018.

Dublin was the most insolvent county for the period (84, up 9%), followed by Galway (14, up 133%) and Cork (13, down 43.5%).

However, counties Clare, Carlow Mayo, Westmeath, Waterford, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Laois all recorded fewer than five insolvencies in the first quarter of this year and the number of insolvencies in counties Sligo and Offaly went down by 100% when compared to the same period in 2018.

Christine Cullen, Managing Director of CRIF Vision-net, said: “The buoyant entrepreneurial spirit in Ireland continues to weather the continued uncertainty across the water. The first quarter of 2019 has been the best in 13 years for start-ups in Ireland. Industries including professional services and social and personal services saw significant growth. Meanwhile, much talked about sectors such construction and finance have again recorded strong numbers.

“Inevitably, Brexit remains the greatest challenge of 2019 and sits at the very top of all business agendas amongst companies big and small. This concern is particularly acute for companies vulnerable to supply chain disruption, costly tariffs and border checks potentially on the horizon.

“Businesses continue to do what they can to ready themselves for the unknown and potentially messy teething period. In the meantime, it is critical that the Irish Government continue to provide assistance to safeguard the economy from the worst effects of a no-deal Brexit.”

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