Top ten places to launch your start-up

Choosing where to launch your start-up is a huge decision that can literally make or break your business. Here, we look at the top candidates.

The most common area for start-ups is a vibrant, upcoming city where you’ll find other great entrepreneurs at your feet and be in the heart of all the ‘buzz’. Picking the perfect location for your startup will allow for much bigger opportunities, so getting it right is essential.

We’ve narrowed down some of the best locations for your start-up business…

1. Edinburgh

Fast becoming one of the top places in the UK to launch a start-up business thanks to its quality tech innovation and positive start-up ecosystem. Edinburgh’s relatively small size also makes it a great plan to start up a successful business, with close proximity to other founders, talent and active investors.

2. Liverpool

Host city for the International Festival for Business, Liverpool is becoming a hotspot for entrepreneurs and business growth opportunity. Although the city’s office is smaller in comparison to cities like Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, Liverpool has an increasing amount of co-working office space available for its budding talent.

3. Cambridge

Nearly half (49.4 per cent) of all start-ups launched in Cambridge are still going strong five years later. Why such a high business success rate? We’re not entirely sure – but it could be down to a few factors. For example, some of the startups founded in Cambridge, which has specialities in science, technology, and medicine, could have raised a lot of funds that enable them to keep going for four to five years.

4. Brighton

This South coast city has topped the list of the best places to start up a business in the UK, for both its fantastic digital connectivity and the high number of small business start-ups in the area. Home to a plethora of digital advertising and marketing agencies, design studios and gaming studios, it’s the perfect fusion of art and technology for the launch of your business.

5. London

London is full of endless opportunities and due to the buzz of the constant hard working entrepreneurs, and finding the perfect office space isn’t hard to come by. For example, Orega offers serviced offices all over London. London is also the epicentre of the British tech start-up scene. According to a report from Tech City UK, roughly a sixth of the 1.46 million people employed in digital companies across the country are based in the capital.

6. Birmingham

In 2016, some 6,000 people moved to Birmingham from London, more than to any other UK city. Part of the city’s attraction is an increasing supply of jobs and lots of new workspaces for digital and creative businesses. The arrival of big banks, professional services firms and the planned HS2 rail link have also contributed to Birmingham’s acceleration as a start-up hub.

7. Leeds

Leeds has a huge student population thanks to its four universities. The constant stream of ambitious, young talent is a huge contributor to the startup survival rate (60.2 per cent) of this vibrant city. The relatively cheap office rent also makes it a prime spot for start-ups.

8. Salford

Between January and March of this year, 1,393 new companies launched in Salford, up an impressive 85 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year. Is Salford maintains its start-up growth rate, the city could produce more than 5,000 businesses this year alone.

9. Nottingham

In the heart of the midlands, this city is hailed as a science city, one of only six in the UK. The status, together with the city’s Enterprise Zone (funded by Alliance Boots), makes the location a prime spot for science startups. The Enterprise Zone offers discounted rates and a range of workspace property options with financial support available for businesses in IT, healthcare, green technologies, beauty and biotechnology.

10. Glasgow

Scotland’s largest and most innovative city, Glasgow has benefited from a wealth of investment and regeneration over the last few years. Creative Clyde is a relatively new hub for fledgling tech startups, and is one out of 15 enterprise areas dotted around Scotland. The hub is already home to BBC Scotland and hopes to attract businesses in the digital technology, TV, film and entertainment fields to its waterfront location.

Further reading on business location

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.

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Launching a business

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