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Top 20 cities to start a business in the UK

1-minute read

Bonny Dellow

27 October 2015

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The best cities in the UK to start a business have been named, and London barely scrapes into the top 10.

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) compiled the list of start-up hotspots, springing some surprising results.

Best city to start a business: Brighton

South coast city Brighton topped the list; gaining points for both its fantastic digital connectivity - its superfast broadband penetration rate is the second highest in the UK - and the high number of small business start-ups in the area.

This result has been supported by results from Centre for Cities 2015, which has shown Brighton to have the highest number of start-ups per capita outside of London, further cementing its place as a vibrant tech city.

What does a city need to be good for business?

When compiling the list, the AAT cross-referenced numerous criteria to create an overarching picture of the UK start-up landscape.

Along with digital connectivity being crucial, six additional measures were considered, including the density of small and medium sized businesses in an area and amount of SME closures.

The best of the rest

Despite ranking first for the number of SME start-ups, London was ranked as only the ninth best place to start a business. This relatively low score was the result of the capital’s sky-high property prices, distinctly average broadband speeds and high number of SME closures.

In second place, and continuing the theme of tech-city success, Cambridge scored highly for the density of high-growth SMEs in the city, and its relatively few business closures.

Elsewhere, Leicester, Worthing, Reading, Bristol, Aldershot, Crawley and Derby complete the top 10, showing a diverse start-up landscape.

The list in full:

  1. Brighton
  2. Cambridge
  3. Leicester
  4. Worthing
  5. Reading
  6. Bristol
  7. Aldershot
  8. Crawley
  9. London
  10. Derby
  11. Northampton
  12. Coventry
  13. Bournemouth
  14. Aberdeen
  15. Blackburn
  16. Portsmouth
  17. Oxford
  18. Southend
  19. Rochdale
  20. Nottingham

Have you started a business in any of these cities? Or can you recommend any other start-up hotspots? Let us know in the comments section!

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