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The four best cities in the UK for entrepreneurs looking to run a business

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An intriguing paradox has sprung up around technology in the workplace. Surveys such as the one carried out by ClickSoftware in April 2015, which tout the importance of job location to employees, jar with conventional wisdom that suggests technology has made location all but irrelevant in the world of work.

But while location may matter less now from a practical perspective, greater choice and flexibility has elevated it to a level of emotional importance that actually makes it of far greater consequence than ever before. This was highlighted by ClickSoftware’s findings, which revealed location is the most important factor keeping 57 per cent of UK workers in their jobs.

As such, and through the help of research by University College London’s School of Management, we unveiled the top four cities to start a business in.

(1) Bristol

In top spot is Bristol, which also ranked first place in “Startup Cities Index 2015” largely due to its above average business survival rates.

At the forefront of its propositioning is the UK’s busiest port – Royal Portbury Docks – which reaches over 42m people and has become of great importance to businesses looking to gain access to international markets. It is also home to the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, which looks to boost economic growth and already has over 350 businesses on site.

Furthermore, the city offers two research-led universities, of which the University of Bristol is ranked among the top 30 universities across the globe. In addition, a large proportion of Bristol’s labour force are well qualified, with 45.6 per cent of the working age population having NVQ Level 4 qualifications and above.

The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership has also recently been awarded £86m to develop Bristol. One of its central focuses is to generate private investment in the Temple Quarter Zone, with a goal of creating 4,000 jobs by 2017, and around 17,000 jobs in the 25 year lifespan of the project.

The area has a particular focus on science and technology, given that Bristol is home to the High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre. And its Bristol and Bath Science Park offers lab space, hot-desks and a “grow-on centre” where fast-growth businesses can become residents in order to scale.

Business will also be privy to the West of England Growth Fund, which provides grants between £10,000 to £80,000 to businesses and projects that will generate economic growth, the West of England LEP, which distributes grants from the government’s Regional Growth Fund, as well as several loan funds including the Microcredit Fund.

Read more UK-based lists:

(2) Greater London

London has been deemed the business capital of Europe, with Forbes recently declaring it as the most influential city in the world, beating the likes of New York, Paris and Singapore.

And according to a report from Tech City UK, roughly a sixth of the 1.46m people employed in digital companies across the country are based in the capital – the tech population of Bristol, Bath, Manchester, Reading and Leeds combined still doesn’t add up to London’s share. However, another report suggested that balance may be starting to shift, with as many as two-thirds of London startup bosses saying they considered leaving the capital after their first year in business.

This is in large part due to the sometimes painfully expensive office space, however, the capital offers 47 universities; access to tons of financial investments; a host of co-working spaces designed for startups to ease the cost of rents; and the networking opportunities that come with being right in the thick of it.

Another key factor in London’s offering is its continued capital injection, with the capital seeing nearly $10bn of VC investment since 2010. Such financial support, coupled with a booming tech market, as well as improvements in infrastructure, is making London the of the hottest locations in Europe for tech startups.

It also has a a progressive regulatory environment, as well as general incentives like the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, capital gains and R&D tax credits – and is home to the Business Growth Fund and the new British Business Bank. The former has directly invested over £400m of growth capital in more than 70 British scale-ups, while the British Business Bank has invested almost £150m in a number of growth finance funds and lenders in the UK scale-up sector.

Read on to find out which other two UK cities made the list.

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