With small businesses continuing to make up 99.3% of all businesses within the UK, new startups are extremely important to the British economy, but it seems that some cities are more startup friendly than others. According to research conducted by the UK’s leading freelance marketplace, PeoplePerHour (PPH), Liverpool leads the way in making entrepreneurs welcome.
Using a variety of data to rank each city according to the factors most likely to impact upon startups, such as cost of living, quality of life, and the startup ecosystem in each city*, PeoplePerHour created a metric to provide a definitive Index ranking the 25 cities. Topping the list is Liverpool, standing head and shoulders above other UK cities. With a superb business ecosystem, low rents and affordable office space, the city best known for its musical roots now seems to be making headway in the business world.
In second place, Southampton pipped Liverpool at the post for overall quality of life, the bustling centre of southern coastal commerce also had the second best business survival rate of any other city in the index. It’s near-neighbour, Brighton – which took third place – scored well for business ecosystem and survival rates, outweighing the relatively high cost of living. Bristol took fourth position.
Despite the fact that all British business roads have always led to London, England’s capital now share’s joint fifth place with Hull, thanks to the low quality of life, the poor availability of office space, high rents and high cost of living.
Although London’s fifth place ranking might surprise a few, what will probably surprise many more is the 24th position of England’s ‘second city’, Birmingham. Despite a recent drive to forge ‘The Midlands’ Engine’, with Birmingham at its heart, it seems that Birmingham currently holds little appeal to new business. As damning as this may seem however, unlike London, the city doesn’t fare particularly badly in any one category – it is simply middling throughout. The only location to surpass Birmingham in poor startup-appeal, is Reading, at the bottom of the list.
North of the border, Edinburgh ranked 8th place and Glasgow 13th, while in Wales only Cardiff made the top 25, coming in in 10th position. Belfast in a very healthy 7th place, just behind London and Hull, was Ireland’s only representative.
Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour, comments: ‘When you think of UK business, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Glasgow are generally the locations that first spring to mind. While Liverpool has a strong history as a bustling seaport, it’s not really associated with contemporary commerce, so these results will probably surprise quite a few people, but with promising startups like SwapBots, CollabCo and Ripstone coming out of the city, it’s likely more will follow.
‘Another surprise will be that Birmingham is so far down the rankings. With HS2 speeding down the tracks, and the Government’s drive to boost the West Midlands’ economy, it would be expected that the city would be better prepared to welcome new business.
‘SMEs are currently feeding the UK’s economy, generating over £1 trillion turnover every year. Building an infrastructure to attract startups makes extremely sound business sense, for individual cities, and the country as a whole.’
The methodology used by PeoplePerHour was a variety of data to rank each city according to the factors we thought would most impact startups.
Metrics used for startups:
- Quality of life
- Cost of Living
- Broadband Speed
- Startup Ecosystem
- Business Survival Rates
- Office space
- Monthly salary
Rankings for each metric were added up to give an overall city ranking: