The 15 best cities in the UK to start a business

Picking a location to start up your business can be tricky, with outlying costs and likely survival of your business a priority. We break down the 15 best cities to start a business.

Paymentsense have conducted an extensive research about the business climate in each city in the UK, looking into business demography, the UK labour market, and the local cost of living. By taking into consideration different factors, such as self-employment rate and average utility bills, they then ranked the best 15 cities that offer the best conditions for start-ups and new businesses.

The cities that have made it into this list do not already offer an excellent business climate, but also a potential for further economic growth. You can find the ranking below:

15. Liverpool

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 38.6 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £509.20
  • Self-employed rate: 6.8 per cent
  • Population: 484,600
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £149.90
  • How ‘rich’ is Liverpool? £232.7m earned by working professionals each week

14. Manchester

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 38.9 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £570.80
  • Self-employed rate: 7.5 per cent
  • Population: 541,300
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £148
  • How ‘rich’ is Manchester? £288.6m earned by working professionals each week

13. Birmingham

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 39 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £523
  • Self-employed rate: 8.6 per cent
  • Population: 1,124,800
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £140.30
  • How ‘rich’ is Birmingham? £544.2m earned by working professionals each week

12. Cardiff

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 41.4 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £528.80
  • Self-employed rate: 7.2 per cent
  • Population: 361,500
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £95.40
  • How ‘rich’ is Cardiff? £180.5m earned by working professionals each week

11. Sheffield

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 42.3 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £526.60
  • Self-employed rate: 7.9 per cent
  • Population: 575,400
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £132.30
  • How ‘rich’ is Sheffield? £286m earned by working professionals each week

10. Southend-on-Sea

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 42.4 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £573.20
  • Self-employed rate: 10.3 per cent
  • Population: 179,800
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £137.30
  • How ‘rich’ is Southend? £97.9m earned by working professionals each week

9. Newcastle upon Tyne

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 42.5 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £532.50
  • Self-employed rate: 7 per cent
  • Population: 296,500
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £149.40
  • How ‘rich’ is Newcastle? £146.7m earned by working professionals each week

8. Milton Keynes

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 42.6 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £602.40
  • Self-employed rate: 9.7 per cent
  • Population: 264,500
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £165.70
  • How ‘rich’ is Milton Keynes? £152.6m earned by working professionals each week

7. Bristol

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 43.8 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £539.90
  • Self-employed rate: 10.4 per cent
  • Population: 454,200
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £142.80
  • How ‘rich’ is Bristol? £233.9m earned by working professionals each week

6. Leeds

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 44.2 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £507.80
  • Self-employed rate: 8.4 per cent
  • Population: 781,700
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £122.10
  • How ‘rich’ is Leeds? £378.7m earned by working professionals each week

5. Edinburgh

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 44.2 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £598.50
  • Self-employed rate: 7.3 per cent
  • Population: 507,200
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £102.40
  • How ‘rich’ is Edinburgh? £292m earned by working professionals each week

4. Leicester

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 44.4 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £497.90
  • Self-employed rate: 5.2 per cent
  • Population: 348,300
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £159.50
  • How ‘rich’ is Leicester? £166m earned by working professionals each week

3. Brighton & Hove

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 45.9 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £577.90
  • Self-employed rate: 16 per cent
  • Population: 289,200
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £149.40
  • How ‘rich’ is Brighton & Hove? £158.8m earned by working professionals each week

2. Bath

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 49.1 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £543.30
  • Self-employed rate: 12.5 per cent
  • Population: 187,100
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £109.70
  • How ‘rich’ is Bath? £97.6m earned by working professionals each week

1. Aberdeen

  • 5-year start-up survival rate: 53.5 per cent
  • Average gross weekly pay: £583.90
  • Self-employed rate: 7.7 per cent
  • Population: 229,800
  • Average utility bill (1 bed flat): £195.30
  • How ‘rich’ is Aberdeen? £127.7m earned by working professionals each week

Obviously, location is an important factor in determining a start-up’s success – businesses need to situate themselves in a place that makes it convenient for them to carry out their services, while making it easy for customers to access them.

‘It’s all about getting the right balance,’ says Guy Moreve, head of marketing at Paymentsense. ‘You need to find somewhere that fits in with your target demographic, but is also sustainable for you.

‘The cities we’ve outlined stand out because they are places that already have an established business community with a pool of potential customers, and yet they still have potential for further growth. To be successful, entrepreneurs need to find their niche within these places, put together a comprehensive plan, and work hard to execute it.’

Further reading on the best cities to start a business

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