Exeter revealed as hub for high-potential entrepreneurs

Devonshire city among the top 10 most entrepreneurial towns in England

The university-town of Exeter is harbouring some of the most promising businesses in England, new research has revealed. According to a BBC-commissioned report by Experian, nearly 1,000 of the 7,345 firms in the area demonstrate the potential to achieve significant levels of success. Many of these are based at the University of Exeter’s Business Innovation Centre, which provides advice, mentoring and accommodation for the start-ups it hosts. Founded in 2000, but relaunching in a new location five years ago, the centre provides a base for 55 new firms – including two of Startups’ top 20 start-ups of 2011, Fantasy Shopper and Crowdcube. Speaking exclusively to Startups, Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube, explained why he believes the city spawns so much innovation: “The local council has worked hard to foster a strong start-up community in the area, as well as trying to attract big brands to Exeter, such as EDF and the Met Office. “These brands help attract talent and experience to the area, which in turn helps smaller businesses. Exeter has good rail, air and road links and the top 10-ranked university makes the city more diverse, vibrant, and produces well-educated, high calibre people for the local jobs market.” Lang added that he and co-founder Darren Westlake were unconcerned about being based outside the capital, saying: “Londoners are often surprised when we say that we’re based in Devon rather than London. We don’t mind that – we like being different and shaking things up a bit. “There is no reason why a good financial services company based outside of the capital cannot prosper. We’re proving it every day – and we get to go to the beach at weekends!”

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