The best place to start a business in the UK

Brighton is the best place to start a business in 2018, according to new research by Informi. Here's why they rate it.

Brighton is the best place to start a small business in the UK, based on new research.

The study, compiled by Informi, studied a range of factors from the 63 largest towns and cities in the UK to determine which created the friendliest environment for small and medium-sized businesses to succeed.

The small business support website revamped its criteria for this year’s study, replacing factors such as the rate of business churn and pollution levels with categories including amount of highly-skilled workers, affordability of housing and current business stock in the area.

Why Brighton?

Brighton – which also came top of Informi’s search in 2016 before being replaced by Ipswich last year – had the fourth highest total number of businesses per 10,000 population (of 453 businesses), suggesting businesses have a captive audience with which to grow and thrive.

In addition, it ranked highly for digital connectivity and for the percentage of their population currently holding a qualification equivalent to NVQ Level 4 or above. Edinburgh came second in the rankings, followed by Northampton.

London took fourth spot, being held back by overall levels of digital connectivity and ranking poorly for the ratio of house prices to average wages. Other areas to have appeared in the top ten include Cambridge, Reading and Warrington.

Steven Drew, spokesperson for Informi, says that small businesses provide the backbone for the UK’s economic strength, even during uncertain times.

‘The nation is holding its collective breath for what any Brexit deal may look like. It is in the best interests of every town and city throughout the UK to create the right environment for entrepreneurs as thriving businesses contribute to the wealth and prosperity of local communities.

‘However, it’s all too well-established a fact that so many SMEs are doomed to fail, due not only to market conditions not working in their favour, but often a lack of awareness of the various steps that owners need to take to help their business get off the ground.

‘Those thinking of starting a business should seek out support.’

Mick Taylor, director of Brighton-based gift voucher scheme Goodmoney, said:

‘Collaboration is at the heart of the sharing economy in Brighton.

‘We’re just scratching the surface of what we can achieve, working together for mutual benefit. But there’s a huge base of proud independent stores and locals are keen to support them to ensure that the area continues to thrive.’

Take a look at the infographic to see where your nearest town or city ranks.

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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