Lucy Neave

Although many firms have had an exceptionally hard time, others have thrived, inspiring new entrepreneurs to launch start-ups.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental impact on many businesses across the UK.

In total, 396,155 firms closed in 2020, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

Around 250,000 small businesses are expected to fold this year, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

Certain industries, such as the beauty and tourism sectors, have struggled because of difficulties in adapting to the changes coronavirus has brought.

Others have bucked the trend, however, experiencing sharp rises in demand.Advertisement

Food delivery services have recorded surges in demand over the last year, with takeaway and recipe boxes seeing a record number of sales.

Despite challenges introduced by the coronavirus crisis, 2020 also saw the launch of a record number of start-ups.

Around 407,510 new businesses were formed during this period, and Tasty Mates, a sweets company based in Hertfordshire, is one of them.


After starting work on their business two years ago, Joe Woolf and Nick Sunshine decided to hold their official launch last autumn.

Mr Woolf told Sky News: “I left my job in January just before COVID-19 – ready to get this up and started.

“Then (the pandemic) hit and we just carried on throughout. We didn’t let it stop us. It definitely slowed us down, but we just carried on.”

He added: “We weren’t worried about going out and socialising and seeing friends. We were just focusing on the business and growing it and we didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything else.”

Mr Sunshine said: “It gave us the time to essentially plan everything out where things may have been rushed previously.

“We just tried to utilise the time that we had to make sure we got everything as good as possible.”

Matt Smith, director of policy and research at the Centre for Entrepreneurs, told Sky News the rising number of start-ups is a trend that is likely to continue.

He said: “A lot of people have had the opportunity to consider entrepreneurship for the first time and really pursue it.

“A lot of businesses have been set up that are passion projects and that of course is a challenge of making sure that is sustainable and scalable.”