In terms of support for new businesses, it really does not get much better than London. A recent report from Nesta, Accenture and Future Cities Catapult recently placed London highly on a global scale for support given to start-ups, second only to New York. The study assessed cities around the world on their government’s ability to support innovation and entrepreneurship, looking at factors including openness, infrastructure and leadership.
Tech start-ups could consider joining a ‘tech cluster’, defined as a group of start-ups or businesses working in geographically closely to one another. These companies often come together to develop solutions and combine resources and generally provide a support network for one another.
Tech Britain lists 32 of these tech clusters in the UK, with the largest being in London, Manchester and Edinburgh and the smallest composed of only nine organisations in Jarrow in north-east England.
The national average broadband speed is 26Mbps. Bristol, Plymouth and Belfast have the fastest broadband speeds in the UK (33.8Mbps in Bristol and Plymouth and 36.6Mbps in Belfast), and Leeds, Cambridge, Sheffield and Hull have the lowest speeds with 25.3Mbps, 23.5Mbps, 20.9Mbps and 14.1Mbps respectively.
Director of the UCL MSc in Technology Entrepreneurship Chris Coleridge says: “Better broadband may make it quicker and easier to do the basics – sending emails, updating web content, building customer and partner relationships – butultimately allows any sole trader to fully operate and grow in a global marketplace.”
Businesses in the capital have access to the most funding; start-ups in London received more than £9 million in funding in the final quarter of 2014, which averaged out at around £1,038 per business. Next on the list but still with significantly less funding are Sunderland and Hull, where businesses received on average £720 and £552 respectively.
The worst cities for start-up funding are Manchester, Nottingham and Leicester with £158, £137 and £132 per business respectively.
The cost of office space in London is at a premium at £52.50 per square foot of space per month compared to the national average outside of the capital of £3.16.
The cost per square foot of office space per month in cities around the UK are: Belfast £6.82; Cambridge £4.08; Exeter £3.97; Edinburgh £3.45; Brighton £3.38; and Leicester £3.18.
Good transport links are often essential for businesses, whether that’s so that employees can commute to work, to export or to get to meetings. Better Transport’s Car Dependency Scorecard found that London, Manchester and Liverpool were the least car dependent cities, suggesting strong public transport links.
The report found that the newer towns tended to have a higher level of car-dependency, with Milton Keynes, Colchester and Peterborough all highly reliant on automobile travel.
Quality of life
Edinburgh was recently found to be the best place to live in the UK when assessed by 26 different factors, including salaries, disposable household income, cost of essential goods, crime rates, life expectancy, and hours of sunshine by uSwitch.com.
Edinburgh was closely followed by Solihull, Hertfordshire and Northumberland, and London did not even make it into the top ten. The worst cities in the UK for quality of life were Bradford and Hull.
London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds have the most start-ups, and more established businesses must not be overlooked – but they also have large populations to serve as potential clients. Each start-up should assess their own competition in the city they are looking to set up shop in. Know your enemy!