New company start-ups surpassed 20,000 for first time in almost two decades last year according to a new report.
Vision-net.ie says 2016 saw 20,997 new firms register, and 8% increase on 2015.
This is the first time company start-ups have surpassed 20,000 in a single year since 1998 and it is the second highest number recorded for 36 years.
Dublin accounted for the vast majority (45.5%) of all new company start-ups in 2016, followed by Cork (12%), Galway (4%), Kildare (3.5%) and Limerick (3%).
Cork’s overall share of company start-ups last year was up 1.4% on its 2015 figure – this is the biggest increase in market share recorded by any county in 2016.
Overall, the number of total new start-ups around the country - including new companies and new businesses - was 46,101, a slight 2% decrease on 2015 (46,979), and a return to the figures seen in the years before 2015. A total of 1,496 more companies were registered in 2016 compared to 2015.
Vision-net said: "Due to the recession, we’re finding that companies are more inclined to do business with registered legal entities like companies rather than businesses. Also, people may be more inclined to go through the extra work involved in setting up a new company as it provides them with a separate legal identity so they are not personally liable for any debts that may be incurred."
In addition, the Companies Act 2014 (which came in to practice in June of 2015) put in a number of amendments to make it easier for people to set up and run companies – this also may have played a part in people finding companies to be a more desirable choice over businesses.
Meanwhile, 984 insolvencies were recorded in 2016 according to the group, the lowest figure since 2008.
Vision-net.ie boss Christine Cullen said: "Ireland has entered a completely new post-austerity economic cycle powered by strong growth...Our economy is more open to lending and risk-taking, and our businesses are eager to expand and undertake new projects.
"Geographically, Dublin still leads the way in economic activity, tailed by an increasingly energised Cork. However, regional imbalance still persists, and unlocking the full potential of the country’s other major centres, and rurality, will be crucial for long-term, stable growth in 2017 and beyond."