Where to Locate Your Business? The Best UK Cities for StartUps

Entrepreneurship is on the rise in the UK, and one of the first decisions you will need to make when starting a business is where to locate your venture.

Even today, the era of the digital nomad, the place you choose to set up shop – figuratively or literally – can have an effect on the prospects of your business, both in terms of profitability and long term success.

It’s easy to assume that all the best feats of entrepreneurship and ingenuity get cooked up in London, but the truth isn’t quite as clear cut as that.

The pros and cons of doing business in London

The multiculturalism of London is very much a feather in the British capital’s cap. Thanks to the way in which waves of industrious immigrants from around the world have set up shop over the generations, London today stands as a truly international metropolis.

There isn’t a culture or country around without representation in London, and the ideas born from this have led to countless innovations. Yet a shifting political climate in the UK, and the way that has inspired financial titans to leave London overall, makes it a less fertile place to go into business today.

Add a high cost of living to the mix, and there’s a much greater risk and reward dynamic in play in London for entrepreneurs and startups nowadays.

The best UK cities in which to start up businesses

The UK has a diverse range of cities, counties and regions in which to do business. In fact, because this small island technically comprises of four countries, that sense of variety is all the more enhanced – and can make knowing where to establish your new business idea a tricky question.

Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there helping fresh UK startups to get the ball rolling. Among those is the research recently published by Know Your Money, which breaks down elements like current quality of life factors in a given UK city, its future prospects, and the access to talent a city demonstrates to give business minds some food for thought.

Topping the bill in many respects as a UK city best to start a business in, is Birmingham. This city is home to the biggest business population outside of London, but it also offsets a few of the capital’s less stable elements with some advantages all its own.

A much more reasonable cost of living than London definitely ranks high among many an entrepreneur’s reasons to set up in Birmingham, as does the thriving tech industry of the city.

However, while Birmingham is solidly establishing its status as Britain’s so-called Second City, it’s far from the only recommended city to start a business, according to recent research.

With so many UK startups unfortunately folding before they’ve had their chance to shine, business survivability is a big factor in the best UK city to start a company.

So, for example, while London actually has the lowest business survival rate at 39.3%, it’s Sheffield with a 44.9% business survivability rate that has a surprising advantage here.

Plenty of factors, such as the cost of business maintenance and the cost of your personal life alongside that, contribute to the appeal of Sheffield as a destination for business. Yet other cities that similarly rank high for their talent at nurturing startups into success stories include Glasgow, Leeds and Coventry.

Know where your sector is most welcome

Founding your startup or new business idea in a city well aligned with your sector is a big key to its success. While there’s something to be said for founding a business in a city where your business model doesn’t already exist, pursuing a blue ocean strategy, you’ll find that you might well lack the support network, customer base and understanding that a more specialised city can offer.

Different UK cities certainly have their own sector as their business backbone today. For example, Bristol is cited as a city rich in legal services and associated businesses, while technology services are high on the agenda in Brighton. Videogames and art are big business in Coventry, and financial services are the bread and butter of Leeds.

Doing the research ahead of time can prove invaluable in ensuring that you set up shop in the city that’s most supportive of your vision.

Luckily, even with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the UK remains a powerhouse of entrepreneurship in the world’s eyes today, and that won’t be stopping any time soon.

More help on starting a new business

ByteStart is packed with help and tips on all aspects of starting your own small business. Check out some of our most popular guides;

Starting Up

Funding your business

Cashflow

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