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Best Place To Start A Small Business In The UK 2018: 1. Brighton

Some weeks ago, Informi started out on its journey to uncover the Best Place To Start A Small Business In 2018. We studied a range of factors looking at signs of business success, looking for a high number of startups, existing business stock and appeal to consumers – along with ingredients that can aid growth, such as digital connectivity, low property prices, and the skills of the local workforce.

And today we reveal that Brighton has re-captured the crown it first won in 2016 before being usurped at the top by Ipswich last year. The seaside city has the 25th highest population in the UK, with 349,000 inhabitants, and has many businesses connected to the media, creative and digital sectors. It isn’t simply on the outer commuter belt to London. 



Why is Brighton a good place to start a business?

While not coming top of any of the five categories Informi studied for our Best Places research, it proudly sits in the top ten in four of the five metrics we measured. Brighton’s highest placing is 4th, in the category of business stock, with 453 current businesses per 10,000 population – a figure beaten only by London, Reading and Milton Keynes. 

Brighton finished 8th overall in three separate categories:

  • Business startups – with the city having nearly 70 start-ups per 10,000 people in 2016
  • Access to a skilled workforce – with 46.5% of the working-age population holding a qualification at least equivalent to an NVQ Level 4
  • Digital connectivity – as 91.25% of the city is covered by ultrafast broadband.



Big names at home in Brighton



Where can Brighton improve?

Brighton ranks so highly in most of our factors, there’s not a lot else it can do to be an attractive hub for new businesses. However, it’s expensive to live and find premises in. The housing affordability index gives Brighton a ratio of 14.31, meaning the average property is 14 times more than the average salary. Only Cambridge, London and Oxford post worse figures.

Looking at other factors, there were a large number of business closures during 2016 with nearly 60 shutting per 10,000 people. That’s better than only five of the 63 locations we studied.


At home in Brighton

Goodmoney is a Brighton-based gift voucher scheme, bringing together independent businesses in the area, encouraging consumers to shop there rather than the larger chain stores. Mick Taylor is a Director there.

“Collaboration is at the heart of the sharing economy in Brighton,” says Mick. 

“We’re just scratching the surface of what we can achieve, working together for mutual benefit. But there’s a huge base of proud independent stores – and locals are keen to support them to ensure that the area continues to thrive.”



The Top 10 Best Places To Start A Business In The UK 2018


  UK town/city
1. Brighton
2. Edinburgh
3. Northampton
4. London
5. Cambridge
6. Slough
7. Reading
8. Bristol
9. Aldershot
10. Warrington


For a comprehensive guide to getting your business up and running, download our how to start a business in 20 days ebook

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