New research reveals the best UK cities to start a business

by | Sep 9, 2023

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  • Tech start-up DeliveryApp has looked at factors such as co-working spaces, broadband speeds, business closure rates and more to find the best places in the UK to start a business 
  • Cambridge comes out on top as the number one UK city, followed by Bristol, York, Oxford and Brighton
  • The business experts at DeliveryApp have offered their top tips for entrepreneurs starting a new business venture

Cambridge is the best place to start a new business in the UK outside of London, according to an index created by tech start-up DeliveryApp.

Cambridge topped the list when considering factors such as business start up and closure rates, average annual rents, broadband speeds and co-working spaces. It was closely followed by Bristol, York and Oxford.  

Despite the current economical turmoil, the UK still saw a huge 753,168 new businesses opened in 2022, the second highest ever on record. This trend looks set to continue throughout 2023, with Google searches for “how to start a business” seeing a 100% increase over the past 12 months. 

 
 

Top 20 start-up cities 

The South of England dominated the top five, with York being the only northern town featured. However, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Wigan, Liverpool and Sheffield do make an appearance in the top 20. 

RankLocationTotal Score
1Cambridge3.65
2Bristol3.60
3York3.53
4Oxford3.33
5Brighton and Hove3.21
6Kingston upon Hull3.16
7Cardiff3.16
8Plymouth3.15
9Glasgow3.14
10Nottingham3.08
11Edinburgh2.97
12Milton Keynes2.96
13Reading2.96
14Belfast2.95
15Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole2.90
16Derby2.89
17Southampton2.86
18Wigan2.86
19Liverpool2.84
20Sheffield2.83

Kingston upon Hull, which came in 6th place, had the best broadbands speeds in the country, followed by Nottingham and Bournemouth. Bristol had the highest number of co-working spaces and Brighton and Hove had the highest number of new business start up rates. 

 
 

Bottom of the list was Sunderland, followed by Doncaster and Barnsley. 

How do cities make the top 20?

DeliveryApp created a ranking system from eight different factors determined to be most important for new businesses, including:

 
 
  • The population of people aged 21-30
  • Broadband speeds
  • Co-working spaces
  • Business closure rates
  • Business start-up rates
  • Employment rates
  • Skilled population
  • Average annual rent

Dwain McDonald, CEO of DeliveryApp below offers his top tips and advice to help all budding entrepreneurs with their first business venture:

  • “Do your research – this means looking at the local market, international market, and social media, on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and finding your target markets and what they respond to.
  • You should also use the same processes to investigate your competitors too – keeping an eye on your competitors will help you see what the market is doing, as well as what to avoid doing and how to create your own voice in the arena.
  • Focus on retaining customers – customer loyalty for new businesses is key to bringing in new business through recommendations, and it’s five times harder to win a new customer than it is to keep a return customer. To do this, prioritise your customer service and create a customer loyalty program.
  • Attend networking events – meeting other businesses and new start-ups at networking events helps you to understand the lay of the land you’re working within, as well as make connections that could benefit you along the way as you grow.
  • Constantly refine and measure your goals – there are so many different strategies you could take to help your business get off the ground, but it’s important to set yourself goals and assess what went well/what went wrong if you don’t meet these goals. Being flexible is crucial.”

For more information about the cities to start a business and about DeliveryApp, please visit: https://www.deliveryapp.com/blog/start-up-cities-where-will-you-succeed/

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