Economist/Barclays report reveals UK’s ‘entrepreneurial hotspots’

Social data reveals London, Cambridge, Manchester and Oxford amongst most fertile areas for enterprise

Four UK cities have today been identified as entrepreneurial ‘hotspots’, following the publication of a new report examining the start-up ecosystem in Britain.

Authored by Cambridge social intelligence start-up Social iMedia and commissioned by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Barclays, the ‘Start me up: Creating Britain’s entrepreneurial ecosystem’ report used social data to identify London, Cambridge, Manchester and Oxford as the cities in which the most online conversations about enterprise took place.

The report claimed these ‘hotspots’ of online activity produced a compound effect that fosters entrepreneurialism in general, and said the presence of accelerator programmes and funding guidance in these locations were key ‘influencers’ helping to drive a general surge in interest.

It also said the social data supported the image of a clear ‘northern corridor’ of entrepreneurial activity, stretching from Liverpool to York.

The report’s authors argued the findings showed policy changes and investment in initiatives designed to encourage enterprise are beginning to take root, but warned that the UK still lags behind the US and parts of Europe in its drive to include entrepreneurialism as a central part of the economy.

Social iMedia said that encouraging entrepreneurial ‘hubs’ outside traditional city boundaries could be a key element of this policy drive.

Anna Lawlor, co-director of Social iMedia, said: “The UK has improved in leaps and bounds in terms of both investing in entrepreneur-specific programs and in terms of matching funding streams with practical and bespoke mentoring schemes to ensure that funding is optimised.

“However, since most of the high-profile experts interviewed agree the UK lags Europe and the US in terms of having a well-functioning ‘ecosystem’, UK policy makers, business leaders, universities and entrepreneurs themselves cannot afford to be complacent.

“This is a tremendously exciting time for UK entrepreneurship and we, as a country, have everything to gain.”

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