Early 2017 saw a boom in fledgling business...
There was a significant increase in the number of new Irish companies created in the first quarter of 2017.
According to new Vision-net figures, 10.3% more Irish startups entered the fray compared to the same three months last year.
The company-search and credit-risk analyst revealed that 12,626 new businesses were incorporated in the country during the period.
While the majority of sectors saw rising activity, professional services fared best in sheer numbers with 1,183 new companies coming on stream, an 8% improvement on 2016.
Farming saw the biggest percentage boost, with 45% more new businesses created than last year. Increases were also seen in finance (23%), transport (9%) and social services (10%).
Dublin led the charge, with the capital welcoming 2,501 new incorporations.
Cork, Galway, Meath and Kildare made up the rest of the top five. Of these, Cork was the one county to see a drop in new registrations. A 17% fall meant there were 114 fewer new Cork-based startups than in the first three months of 2016.
The strong start to the year seems to only be accelerating when you look at the latest monthly figures.
March enjoyed the second-highest monthly rate of business startups since 2007, with 2,014 companies registered last month.
Vision-net.ie managing director Christine Cullen said of the results:
"Figures from the first quarter of the year suggest the Irish economy will continue down a path of steady if slightly uneven growth into 2017. Traditionally strong sectors such as finance, agriculture and professional services have experienced encouraging levels of growth and the ongoing revival of the construction industry has been well documented in the media.
"Overall, the rise in the number of startups this year compared to last year is very encouraging."
However, while more and more new players are setting up shop, the number of failing businesses was also up.
There were 306 business insolvencies, representing a 22% increase on the same period in 2016. These comprised 155 liquidations, 143 receiverships and eight examinerships.
Cullen also signalled a potential problem with the disproportionate amount of activity in Dublin compared to the rest of the country:
“Dublin still accounts for 43% of new companies registered in Ireland. This suggests a continued over-reliance on the Capital and an urgent need, on the part of Government and policy makers, to develop greater economic stimulus in rural areas of the country."
The 2017 flurry of activity comes off the back of a strong 2016 that saw the number of new startups surpass 20,000 for the first time in nearly two decades.
Vision-net.ie figures showed that 20,997 companies were registered in 2016, an 8% increase on 2015 and the biggest year of activity since 1998. It was also the second highest number recorded in 36 years.
Professional services was the most popular industry, with over 4,000 firms established. The finance sector was second with 2,959, and it boasted the biggest percentage boost in new blood, with activity 44% higher than in 2015.
The number of new firms getting down to business in Dublin was up a massive 45.5%, far above second-placed Cork, which saw a 12% increase. The difference elsewhere around the country was much more marginal.
At the same time, there was a 10% decrease in insolvencies.