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The top 25 places to start and grow a business in the UK revealed

The Start-Up Cities Index 2015 has ranked the 25 best places to set up in business in the UK, outside of London, with Bristol polled in first place as the nation’s most successful start-up hub.

Almost 3,000 new businesses launched in the south-west England city last year, underpinned by fast broadband speeds, business support, access to finance and a skilled talent pool.

Bristol was followed by Oxford, Edinburgh, Leeds and Cambridge, displaying the spread of growing start-up hubs across the UK. Due to the size and geographical spread of London’s business ecosystem, the capital was left out of the rankings.

The index combines a host of official data, including figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and NOMIS, tracking start-up ‘births’ and business ‘deaths’, business support, access to funding and talent, business survival rates and the quality of life that each city offers; taking into account average house prices and crime rates.

It examines each city’s level of business activity, population and rate of economic prosperity. As such, it is the most extensive index of its kind, providing insights into what it’s really like to set up a business in each area by featuring testimonials from SME owners.

Ian Wallis, editorial director,, said: “Entrepreneurial ambition is taking root across the UK.

“This updated report reflects the sheer volume of start-up activity and support for new businesses that stretches to every corner of the country; from Plymouth in the West, Brighton in the South, Belfast in Northern Ireland, and Swansea in Wales.

“These 25 cities demonstrate the conditions required to give start-up businesses the best chance of success.

“As our top-ranked city, Bristol has taken great strides in recent years and is home to fast-growing takeaway food marketplace Just Eat.

“Only this summer I was lucky enough to see the best of the city first-hand with a group of London entrepreneurs. From the innovation and creativity on display at The Watershed and the Engine Shed, to the great street food in St Nicholas Market and start-up co-working space DeskLodge, there is so much going on.

“In the following years, as initiatives launch and enterprise grows, we will continue to track the best cities to start a business in the UK.”

The full list of the Index’s top 25 UK cities to set up in business are:

  1. Bristol

  2. Oxford

  3. Edinburgh

  4. Leeds

  5. Cambridge

  6. Manchester

  7. Sheffield

  8. Birmingham

  9. Cardiff

  10. Glasgow

  11. Newcastle

  12. Brighton

  13. Coventry

  14. Aberdeen

  15. Leicester

  16. Liverpool

  17. Nottingham

  18. Belfast

  19. Norwich

  20. Southampton

  21. Swansea

  22. Milton Keynes

  23. Canterbury

  24. Plymouth

  25. Hull


Image: Quattrostagioni

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