Trading group says 17,000 new Welsh businesses launched in 2023

Despite this, business confidence levels are dropping which is an issue that start-up support programmes are working to combat

A picture of people participating in a start-up support programme. They are sat on desks listening to a speaker talk.
Alacrity UK in Newport offers a free start-up support programme, which includes talks from industry professionals.
Image credit: Alacrity UK

Over 17,000 new Welsh businesses have launched in 2023; a 13.7% increase since 2022. Despite this, business confidence levels in Wales are beginning to decrease, according to new research from trading association R3.

Charlotte May, chair of R3 in Wales, said: “In Q2 2023 Wales had the weakest levels of business confidence across the UK. If this continues in 2024, we might see start-up rates drop.”

Welsh start-up numbers have been increasing, yet this recent drop in business confidence makes 2024’s numbers harder to predict. For start-up success to continue, May said: “It’s vital that business owners are vigilant and seek expert advice.” 

In South Wales there are many initiatives to support start-ups and provide them with the advice that they may need. For example, Newport-based charity Alacrity UK helps budding entrepreneurs on their start-up journey.

Alacrity UK is offering a free tech and cyber entrepreneurship start-up programme. Aimed at graduates, tech enthusiasts and people with entrepreneurial drive, the 12-month mentorship course helps get business ideas off the ground. Participants on the programme also receive a monthly tax-free stipend of £1,500, setting Alacrity apart from other courses.

Lauren Thomas, Alacrity’s office manager, said: “We support start-ups in their crucial early stages, cultivating a resilient and confident generation of entrepreneurs. Our cohorts learn the essential disciplines necessary for success.” 

A sign reading 'Tramshed Tech' sits against a red brick wall.
Tramshed Tech in Cardiff is also a hub for start-up success, with seven support programmes on offer.
Image credit: Maddie Balcombe

Similar initiatives are also available in Cardiff, with Tramshed Tech offering seven different support programmes for start-ups.

Lucy Hopkins, head of communications at Tramshed Tech, said: “Founders often lack confidence due to a lack of experience.” It hopes to combat this in a 10-week start-up academy, which provides 1:1 mentorship sessions, structured content and networking opportunities.

If young entrepreneurs take advantage of the support available to them, the future will continue to look bright for the start-ups of South Wales.