16 hottest business ideas for 2016

Fermented foods, pottery and becoming ‘insta-famous' are among the best business ideas for aspiring start-up founders to pursue in 2016, according to a new report published by the UK's leading independent online business resource Startups.co.uk.

The annual study, entitled What business to start in 2016, outlines the top 16 business opportunities which are expected to take off over the coming year. Other encouraging sectors highlighted in the report include education technology, activity bars, and natural and organic beauty products.

With more than 581,000 new businesses registered on Companies House last year, and with the number of UK self-employed continuing to soar, ambitions to start a business are only expected to grow in 2016 as the start-up process becomes quicker, cheaper and easier than ever.

Given that the taste for entrepreneurship is growing and with a quarter of UK adults - and 70% of those aged 25-34 - wishing to start a business in 2016 to experience the kind of independence and fulfilment rarely gained in their day jobs, Startups has unveiled its pick of the most timely businesses to start this year.

The report combines in-depth research and analysis of emerging business and consumer trends, insights from leading market research bodies such as Mintel and Euromonitor, as well as interviews with, and commentary from, industry experts; serial entrepreneurs, business leaders, and both established and brand new start-ups.

Contributors and interviewees include Gojimo founder George Burgess; former Apprentice contestant Susan Ma of vegan skincare brand Tropic Skincare; Mainstage Travel co-founder Aden Levin; Adam Breeden, the co-founder of popular London ping-pong bar Bounce; and Natasha Bowes of fermented yoghurt drinks business Bio-tiful Dairy.

Startups.co.uk's 16 best business ideas for 2016 are:

  • Gin
  • Fermented food and drinks
  • Pottery
  • Instapreneur
  • Live music festival
  • Women's sportswear
  • Posh pet food
  • Fittech
  • Natural and organic beauty
  • Gourmet burgers
  • Edtech
  • Online watch shop
  • Activity bar
  • Fitness franchise
  • Venue booking platform
  • Smart products

Startups.co.uk editor, Lucy Wayment, discussed the 2016 predictions: "Business ideas are nothing without execution and a big part of that comes down to timing. Where there's growing appetite there's opportunity.

"And with these 16 ideas we have a great mix of both accessible and slightly more adventurous business ideas in rapidly developing markets.

"Success for many readers will mean starting a business that goes on to become sustainable and which generates healthy profits - or even supplements a part-time income. And we celebrate a growing freelance opportunity or franchise venture as much as the next big technology play.

"From the rising consumption of fermented foods, to turning selfies and travel pics on Instagram into cash. And from a passion for pottery to launching an activity bar which taps into the growing demand for bars and restaurants with social entertainment, 2016 will see a smorgasbord of exciting start-ups."

What the experts say: Holly Pike, social media manager at The Internet Works, commented on the opportunities of becoming an instapreneur:

"Owned by Facebook, Instagram is an integral part of the web giant's ‘democratisation of marketing' - anyone can be an Instagram star!

"The photo sharing app possesses all the right ingredients to get you going. It's easily accessible, it's integrated with other key social media channels (making your image omni-present) and the results always look great.

"Instagram provides a golden opportunity to make quick cash. Being paid ‘by the image' with a quick one-liner and call to action ("click link in bio") could be the start to flexible working for the social media star and for the brand they get to reach an even vaster audience on Instagram, using the trusted image of the influencer. Win, win!"

Bio-tiful Dairy founder and managing director Natasha Bowes, has discussed the rising trend for fermented food and drinks:

"As consumers and media in the UK are fast discovering fermented foods for themselves one cannot yet call it mainstream, but that is exactly the type of field that that most interesting business start-up ideas prosper within! Who can argue that the combination of creating your own business and making the world a better and healthier place is not the winning one?

"Ironically, the challenge with making and promoting fermented foods is which of the numerous health benefits to emphasise, as their perceived list is so long. For example with starting a Kefir business, you would need to consider whether to solely focus on the prime benefits related to gut health and the immune system, to go down the currently popular ‘high in protein' route, or to promote that fact that it is ‘naturally low on lactose'.

"Opportunities are bountiful!"

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