The 14 Best Businesses To Start in 2018

If you think 2018 could be the year you want to launch your own venture a new list has been released of new industries that are about to take 2018 by storm.

The list spans everything from teenaiders -apps designed to help young people with stress, to Alexa skills training, to businesses aimed at the muslim market providing halal snacks or modest fashion.

Muslim Lifestyle Economy

With a growing population of over 3.1 million Muslims in the UK, demand for start-ups specialising in modern products and services which align with Islamic beliefs and thinking – such as halal foods and modest fashion – is only expected to grow in 2018.

Already, the UK has seen start-ups such as Halal Gems, the marketplace for halal cuisine, and Makkah, a website for pilgrims wishing to travel to the holy city of Mecca come to the fore. Big brands want in too; Marks & Spencer’s pioneering burkini collection was a sell-out hit when it launched in 2016 and just this week (January 8 2018) the retailer followed this collection with the launch of a dedicated ‘modest fashion’ range.

Those looking to capitalise on the burgeoning Muslim lifestyle economy should move quickly to maximise opportunities!

AlexaAlexa Skills

Tapping into the growing popularity of Amazon’s Alexa (it currently has 70 per cent of the voice-controlled speaker market), savvy developers will have the opportunity to build a profitable business by creating in-demand skills that customers love.

Established brands are already getting in on the action. Thanks to Diageo’s virtual bar you can ask Alexa for cocktail suggestions and Nestle’s Purina lets you find out detailed information on different dog breeds. The next 12 months will no doubt see more big brands create voice-specific content but there’s also an opportunity for tech-savvy developers and start-ups to create bespoke skills – from quizes to games – and monetise them. Developer Joel Wilson made $9,000 a month for his two quiz skills that he initially launched just for fun.

With Amazon announcing more ways to make money in 2018, and the market set to reach $50m, if you’ve got the coding capability, now’s the time to capitalise on this fairly unexploited trend.

Fourth Meal

With Duck and Waffle remaining one of London’s only high-end 24-hour restaurants, 2018 could be the year London and the UK catch up with the rest of the world by catering increasingly to busy professionals.

According to Waitrose’s Food & Drink report for 2017-18, there “is growing evidence that we are starting to squeeze a small, fourth meal into our daily routine” – and businesses are finally starting to take note.

So whether it’s opening a new late night eatery or creating an on-demand food option that operates all hours – London start-up Feast is offering delivery seven days a week 7am right round to 5am – there’s a chance for businesses to cater to the growing demand for food outside of conventional hours.

Who doesn’t love a midnight feast?

Generation Rent Solutions

Taking a cue from their European neighbours, or just owing to rising costs of living, more and more Brits are destined to be long-term renters rather than first-time buyers – and tech businesses are taking notice.

While the proptech sector has been steadily building over the past few years, this year will see start-ups, offer a range of services and products targeted specifically towards a group increasingly being referred to as ‘generation rent’.

Whether it’s helping them wade through the murky waters of home insurance (Urban Jungle), pay cheaper rent as a property guardian (Lowe Guardians), or even just manage bills in a shared flat, look out for increased tech solutions available for ‘generation rent’ in 2018.


Forget green foods, the latest superfood powder you need to know about is blue algae. Push aside your preconception of pond scum and think instead of an Instagram-friendly blue smoothie that needs no filter.

Perfect for anyone looking to eat a more plant-based diet, it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet – and the ingredient you’ll hear everyone talking about in 2018.

Following US business Nonfoods ’ launch of a nutrition bar containing more algae than any other ready-to-eat food product out there today in November 2017, there’s an opportunity for UK start-ups to follow suit and capitalise on what WholeFoods has deemed “a serious power player” for the year ahead.


Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of pressures and anxieties young people face in the online world: research from the University of Sheffield and Ofcom found that an hour on social media each day reduces happiness indexes by 14%. Additionally, unrealistic beauty standards and the pressures of work are growing causes of anxiety amongst teenagers. Brands that fail to keep step with changing attitudes face being left behind or even called out by their target market.

As well as changing to meet the expectations of a new generation, commercial opportunities to tackle these problems are opening up. For example: Troo Life Coach is using artificial intelligence and neuroscience to offer personalised support and help young people make better decisions through their smartphones. 2018 is the year of the ‘teenaider’.

Care Home Developer

Increasing demand from the UK’s ageing population – which is now living longer than ever before – is creating a huge shortfall in the number of beds available within care homes, opening the door for budding property developers to build new care homes.

Recent research conducted by property consultants JLL, which has been doubling its rate of delivery of late – reports that, by the end of 2018, up to 3,000 elderly people will not be able to get beds in UK care homes. This is due to not enough new homes currently being developed to fill the gap. The Care Homes Construction Market has echoed these findings with “demand for care home places expected to rise steadily over the next five to 10 years”.

Elsewhere, care services franchises such as Seniors Helping Seniors UK, which enables retired entrepreneurs to own and run home care businesses in their local areas, has seen growth ascent. Since launch in 2014, the chain has expanded to over 40 care work providers.
For those looking to combine profit with purpose, and with pockets deep enough to pursue property development, the care home market presents a winning business opportunity.

Inclusive Beauty

Inclusive beauty is here to stay with a number of brands already capitalising on opportunities to embrace diversity in age, gender, race, and much more.

In the last year, we have seen pro-age start-ups like Look Fabulous Forever take off in the UK, and in America, Rihanna’s Fenty launch has heralded a new era of inclusivity, while CoverGirl has led an industry step-change with male model James Charles its latest ambassador.

For budding beauty entrepreneurs, start-up opportunities lie in creating inclusive beauty ranges; from foundations and lipsticks to suit all skin colours to creating a beauty brand to target age diversity i.e. make-up with anti-ageing properties or beauty tutorials focused at women aged 50+.

90’s Nostalgia Fashion

Sporty tracksuits, glitter cheeks, and the return of the scrunchie – the 90s are back, and Definitely Maybe better than ever. With millennial consumers already harking back to their youth, fashion designers and market traders are getting all nostalgic too, and why shouldn’t they?

Expected to part with over $200bn in 2018 alone, millennials are fast becoming the consumer group that big brands are both chasing and catering for – so it’s no surprise that corporate giants are starting to bring back some old favourites.

American independent makeup brand Lime Crime recently launched a line of eyeshadow palettes inspired by 1990s Polly Pocket playsets, while Missguided released a sold-out range of Barbie-branded clothing.

Even luxury Italian fashion brand Moschino launched its My Little Pony collection for Spring/Summer 2018 at Milan Fashion Week.

Make no mistake, the time to start your 90s nostalgia start-up – is now!

IoT Security

As connected devices become increasingly prevalent in UK homes (with a potential 50 billion in operation by 2020), so does the risk of security breaches. And because these devices accumulate and store personal data as well as share a network with household computers and smartphones, the consequences of getting hacked could be high.

Because devices often come unequipped with security measures, in 2018 there’s an opportunity for businesses to come up with solutions to this problem. From Israel-based Argus Cyber Security which protects smart cars from cyber threats to San Francisco-based Rubicon which safeguards vertical markets, IoT security start-ups are launching across the globe – and with consumer spending on IoT security expected to hit $547.2m in 2018, the UK market has ample room for businesses which help keep this innovative tech safe.

Women’s Health Tech

Though technology has historically ignored exclusively female health issues, we’re now seeing health apps and tech-based products specifically for women enter the market, designed to streamline and improve experiences of anything from menstruation to breastfeeding.

Among the first to launch were Denmark-founded period tracker Clue and US-based fertility app Glow. Now, from electronic Kegel trainer Elvie – which counts Gwyneth Paltrow and Khloe Kardashian as fans – to smart breast pump Naya, taboo-busting tech is entering the mainstream and has collectively attracted over $1bn in funding, with cycle-tracking app Natural Cycles even gaining certification as a recognised contraceptive.

With women controlling $20tn worldwide as a consumer group, 2018 is the time for start-ups to get in on this rapidly-growing sector.


Move over, hygge – lagom, the Swedish ethos of finding balance through moderation, is the latest Scandinavian buzzword to capture the interest of UK consumers. Meaning ‘not too little, not too much’, the lagom philosophy says we should partake in just enough of what we need to live well while neither behaving excessively nor making unnecessary sacrifices.

The foundation of IKEA’s Live LAGOM campaign for sustainability and cost-effectiveness, lagom has been dubbed an up-and-coming lifestyle trend by Vogue and can be found tagged in over 50,000 posts on Instagram. Presenting business opportunities across a variety of sectors, the concept has already begun to inspire UK start-ups, including London fashion label LAGOM and the Bristol-based Lagom Magazine.

Premium Mixers

With the likes of gin, mezcal and vodka experiencing a resurgence in recent years, it was only a matter of time before the discerning UK public called out for a premium mixer to add to their tipple.

A sure sign of millennial thirst for upmarket mixers and a healthier option, London drinks brand Fever-Tree Drinks doubled its profits in the first half of last year – helped no end by the rising global popularity of mother’s ruin.

A £1.5bn sector in the UK alone, the soft drinks sector remains unabashed in spite of recent sugar taxes – with more and more reduced sugar options and natural flavours entering the market.

Once such brand is premium mixer start-up Double Dutch. Founded by twin sisters Joyce and Raissa De Haas, the duo’s range of paired flavours (think watermelon and cucumber) is expected to sell five million bottles this year.

A lesson for 2018: store brand fizzies stay away – high end tonics are on the way.


With several high-profile fights last year and a growing number of celebrity fans, boxing is set to build on the surge in popularity it witnessed in 2017 throughout 2018, as more and more people discover the millennia-old sport as a great way to keep them fit, strong, and healthy.

This is the year it expands beyond the ring, with online boxing workouts streamed into your home courtesy of Boxx, and crazy hybrids such as Piloxing (Pilates with boxing). Even Anthony Joshua is looking to capitalise on growing interest in the sport with his endorsement of state-of-the-art boxing gym BXR in Marylebone, which launched last year. And thanks to Olympic gold medal winner Nicola Adams and supermodel Gigi Hadid, boxing is also winning legions of female fans. Could 2018 be the year you come out punching with a boxing business?