Bristol named as the capital for new businesses

The West Country city tops a study of the country's best locations for entrepreneurs to start a business.

Research from University College London’s School of Management looked into the availability, quality and cost of amenities available to entrepreneurs around the country.

Factors included broadband speed and the cost of central office space, alongside the number and value of start-up loans accessed by new businesses.

By this set of criteria, the UK’s top ten cities for entrepreneurs are Bristol, London, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Belfast, Cardiff, and Leeds.

Related: A guide to starting a business in Bristol

Topping the table for broadband speeds and well above the UK average of 26Mbps are Bristol and Portsmouth, at 33.8Mbps, while Hull provides less than half the speeds at 14.1Mpbs.

Central office space is, understandably, at its highest price per square foot per month in London, at £52.50.

London steals first place for the average value of funding accessed by start-ups, at £1,038 per new business, followed some way behind by Sunderland (£720) and Hull (£552). Start-ups in Leicester receive on average just £132.

Thomas Coppen is a successful entrepreneur who established Keel Over Marketing in Bristol in 2012, at the age of 24. He says, ‘I think Bristol has an atmosphere that breeds entrepreneurs. I started my advertising agency through working with start-ups.’

He adds that if there hadn’t been such a large pool of talent locally, he doesn’t think the company would have got off the ground. ‘There are lots of fellow business owners to speak to and gain advice from, with regular conferences taking place on all subjects in the city. There is also a great abundance of business networking events and meetings, some of which are free, to attend,’ he says.

Chris Coleridge, director of the UCL MSc in Technology Entrepreneurship adds, ‘A great business idea is just the start of succeeding as an entrepreneur, and we’ve found some surprising differences in the facilities available to them across the UK.

‘The factors we have explored, from basic funding to broadband speed, can have a real impact on the direction and growth of a business as it gathers pace.’

Entrepreneurs whose aim is to start a business this year should invest plenty of time in the planning phase, in order to research the pros and cons of not just their product or service, but of their hometown in order to counteract any hurdles, Coreridge advises.

‘Business networking groups and collaboration with other local entrepreneurs shouldn’t be overlooked, as it can help with knowledge and insight sharing particularly in the early stages.”

Further reading on starting a company

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

Related Topics