Best places to start a business outside of London revealed has today unveiled its second annual Start-up Cities Index which ranks the top 25 UK cities for enterprise... has today unveiled its second annual Start-up Cities Index 2015 which ranks the 25 best places to start and grow a business in the UK, outside of London.

Bristol (pictured) polled in first place as the UK’s top start-up hub – almost 3,000 new businesses launched in the city last year – on the back of its business support, fast broadband speeds, growth activity, access to finance and skilled workforce.

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Using a raft of official statistics, including data from the Office of National Statistics and NOMIS, the index tracks 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.

Published by the UK’s leading independent online business resource, the Index – which excludes the capital due to its scale and scope – has examined the levels of each city’s business activity, population, and rate of economic prosperity, making it the most exhaustive and comprehensive list of its kind.

You can view the city-by-city statistics here.

Showcasing the country’s start-up clusters and thriving business ecosystems, the cities listed in the Index (shown in the map here) span several growing start-up ‘hubs’ including Plymouth and Canterbury, to more dominant cities such as Edinburgh and Manchester; last year’s top start-up city.

Due to the size and geographical spread of London’s business ecosystem, the capital was left out of the rankings but you can view our in-depth guide to the best places in London to start a business here.

Ranked in order, the UK’s top 25 cities to start a 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

The Index also includes first-hand testimonials from start-up businesses in every city to provide insights on what it’s really like to set up a business in each area; covering local support initiatives, mentoring, funding, networking, and even the best restaurants and bars to entertain clients.

Ian Wallis, editorial director, said of the Start-up Cities Index 2015:

“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 The Watershed and the Engine Shed (which incidentally houses the boardroom used by Isambard Kingdom Brunel), 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.”


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