Brighton – best place to start a business in 2018

Brighton has taken the crown in the 2018 “Best place to start a small business in the UK” study complied by Informi, the website offering free practical advice and support for small businesses.

Informi studied a range of factors from the 63 largest towns and cities in the UK to determine which created the most friendly environment for small and medium-sized businesses to succeed. The website revamped its criteria for this year’s study, replacing factors such as the rate of business churn and pollution levels to instead focus on categories including amount of highly-skilled workers, affordability of housing and current business stock in the area.

The research focuses on the UK’s 63 largest cities and towns, defined as primary urban areas by Centre for Cities.

The data used in this study covers statistics from 2013 – 2017 collated from sources including, NOMIS, Annual population survey and The Office of National Statistics.

The Brighton appeal

Brighton – which also came top of Informi’s search in 2016 before being replaced by Ipswich last year – had the fourth highest business stock, or 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.

The research took into account the following five criteria:

  • Business start-ups 2016 (per 10,000 population)
  • Working age population with qualification at NVQ4 and above 2016
  • Business stock per 10,000 population 2016
  • Ultrafast broadband percentage 2017
  • Housing affordability ratio 2017

Small business strength

Steven Drew, spokesperson for Informi said:

“Small businesses provide the backbone for the UK’s economic strength, even – perhaps especially – during uncertain times, with the nation 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 – such as our how to start a business in 20 days eBook – to help them in their early days.”

Working together for mutual benefit

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.”

Best places to start a business in the UK 2018

  1. Brighton
  2. Edinburgh
  3. Northampton
  4. London
  5. Cambridge
  6. Slough
  7. Reading
  8. Bristol
  9. Aldershot
  10. Warrington
  11. Manchester
  12. Southampton
  13. Leeds
  14. Aberdeen
  15. Worthing
  16. Crawley
  17. Portsmouth
  18. Milton Keynes
  19. Preston
  20. Birmingham

Hover over the interactive map to see where your town or city ranks

Informi is your essential destination for everything you need for running your own business from tips on your health and wellbeing to marketing and finance support.

Related articles