The number of new startup companies in Ireland has risen past the 20,000 mark for the first time in almost two decades, according to new statistics published by the online companies website Vision-net.ie.
Just under 21,000 new companies registered in Ireland last year, representing a rise of 8pc compared to 2015.
The capital posted the highest percentage of new businesses, with almost half of the total (45.5pc) measured over the course of the year.
Cork posted the second largest amount with 12pc of the total, while Galway had 4pc, Kildare 3.5pc and Limerick 3pc.
"Following the publication of 2015's excellent figures, we talked about a robust and visible recovery," Christine Cullen, inset, managing director of Vision-net.ie, said.
"This year, it's plain to see that Ireland has entered a completely new post-austerity economic cycle powered by strong growth."
The finance and construction sectors performed particularly well in 2016. A total of 2,959 new finance companies were set up last year, up 44pc on 2015. The construction sector gained 14pc, with 1,876 new firms set up.
"Our economy is also diversifying. Ireland's professional services sector, along with our finance, construction, tech, manufacturing and hospitality sectors, are buoyant," Ms Cullen said.