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Top 10 ranking: Where is the best place to start a business in the UK?

Find out where is the top place to start a business in the UK – contrary to popular expectations, London is not top of the list.
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The South East pipped London to the post as the UK’s best environment for startups, according to a new report by business insurance specialists Jelf Small Business.

The UK Startup Ecosystems Report ranks Britain’s entrepreneurial ecosystems by looking at 11 separate metrics pulled out of ONS data, including business birth rate, unemployment rates and the number of businesses per 10,000 adults. These are then added together to give each region an overall startup ecosystem score.

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While the South East came top of the list, with 101 points, it was followed closely by the capital, with London gathering 97 points out of a possible 132 points. Both areas performed particularly well in the business birth rate, gross value added and number of businesses per region metrics.

The stand-out region was Scotland, which came in fourth in the final rankings, in large part due to its high business birth rate and relatively low business death rate. 

“If there are any positives that we can take from the recent economic downturn, the UK’s renewed entrepreneurial spirit is definitely one of them,” says Paul Williams, manager at Jelf Small Business.  

“With more and more startups popping up across the UK, we thought it would be interesting to examine what makes the perfect environment for entrepreneurial activity.

The North East took last place in the UK Startup Ecosystems Report, but it isn’t all doom and gloom, as the region came second in the business birth rate metric. This shows that a growing number of people in the region are reacting to the lack of traditional employment opportunities in the area by starting up their own businesses.

With funding being one of the main deterrents to individuals starting their own businesses, the report also takes into account the many GOV.uk recognised small business support systems available in each area. The North West performed particularly well in this metric, with 144 support schemes for the area listed on the GOV.uk site.

UK Startup Ecosystems Report – Final rankings (marks out of 132):1

  1. South East – 101
  2. London – 97
  3. East – 86
  4. Scotland – 84
  5. South West – 82
  6. North West – 73
  7. East Midlands – 68
  8. Wales – 60
  9. Yorkshire and the Humber – 54
  10. West Midlands – 53
  11. Northern Ireland – 51
  12. North East – 49

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