New figures show that Ireland's new company startup levels reached the highest number on record in 2021, while the number of companies going under fell by 6%.

The latest figures from credit risk analyst CRIFVision-net show that a total of 25,695 new startups were registered in 2021, the highest figure on record, an increase of 17% on 2020's 21,926 new companies.

CRIFVision-net said the 2021 startup figures marked a 13% increase on pre-pandemic levels in 2019, which is said showed strong signs of Covid recovery within the Irish economy.

The second quarter of the year accounted for the largest number of startups, while March was the strongest month for new registrations with a total of 2,715 new registrations during the month.

The figures show that the legal, accounting and business sector was the biggest contributor to new startups in 2021, recording a total of 4,592 startups - a 4% rise on 2020.

This was followed closely by the financial intermediation industry (4,195), wholesale and retail (3,669), and construction (2,470 sectors, which all showed significant resilience to the adverse conditions of the past 12 months.

CRIFVision-net noted that the community, social, and personal activity industry (1,834) was the only sector to experience a decline in startups in 2021 with the number of start-ups down by 26%.

Dublin was the centre of startup activity in 2021, accounting for 11,815 of all new registrations, an annual increase of 18%.

It was followed by Cork, which saw a 17% increase to reach 2,504, while the number of startups in Galway rose by 15% to 992 and those in Kildare were up 17% to 952.

Mayo was the only county to record a decrease in startups for the year, recording a total of 330, down 2% when compared to 2020.

Meanwhile, a total of 444 company insolvencies were recorded in 2021, a decrease of 6% on 2020.

Today's figures show that the most insolvent sector in 2021 was the legal, accounting, and business sector, with a total of 80 insolvencies. The legal sector was followed by financial intermediation (60), construction (58), and real estate (40).

Dublin, with 291 companies going bust, recorded the highest number of insolvencies by county, followed by Cork (37), Galway (26), and Limerick (14).

CRIFVision-net recorded a large increase in dissolved companies - those which close without filing for insolvency - last year. The total number of dissolved companies totalled 12,410, the highest number since 2018.

Christine Cullen, Managing Director of CRIFVision-net, said that last year was a record-breaking year for new company startups, marking a significant turning point for the Irish economy's Covid-19 recovery.

"If we look back to 2020, the contrast in startup activity was stark. 2020 was the lowest point for the number of new startup companies in Ireland since 2016, illustrating the prolonged impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on the Irish economy," Ms Cullen said.

"However, 2021 painted a much more positive picture. Achieving the highest number of new company startup registrations on record is a clear demonstration of the resilience, determination, and hard work of the Irish SME community. Moreover, it gives reason for optimism as we look to the year ahead," she stated.

Christine Cullen said that while the Irish start-up community is buoyant, the next 12 months will not be without their challenges.

"The increase in dissolved companies this year serves as a reminder of the challenging environment in which businesses are currently operating, and we must ensure that there are continued supports available to protect new companies and promote growth and development," she added.