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Best Place To Start A Small Business In The UK 2018: 8. Bristol

We’re off and running. Already Informi’s Best Place To Start A Small Business In The UK 2018 has put Warrington and Aldershot within the top ten, but it’s about time we included one of the nation’s larger cities – indeed one with the eighth highest population of the 63 towns and cities that we studied to pull this year’s list together.

Informi’s team of budding statisticians focused on a range of factors important to small business owners both current and future – looking at property prices, digital connectivity and current levels of business stock among other issues.

And it’s the city affectionately known as ‘Brizzle’ that has finished in eighth. The city’s trade is built on electronics, aerospace and creative media…and the Bristol pound – the largest circulating community currency nationwide.


Clifton suspension bridge


Why is Bristol a good place to start a business?

It’s easy to forget that, London apart, Bristol is the largest city in the South of England. The city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, has twice been named the best city in Britain to live by the Sunday Times in recent years, and it’s green – winning the European Green Capital Award from the European Union in 2015.

The city’s highest performance in our study was in the area of access to skilled talent. 45% of those in Bristol of working age have a strongly-rated qualification, placing the city 10th in this category.

It also ranks in the teens for the current number of business startups, overall business stock (the number of businesses in existence per 10,000 population) and for ultrafast broadband – showing that Bristol has the tools for businesses to come, grow and thrive – and that many businesses are already making a success of the area.


How Bristol ranks for favourable SME factors



Big names at home in Bristol


Where can Bristol improve?

The only area in our study in which Bristol ranked poorly was in affordability of housing. The city’s appeal means that house prices cost an average of £292,813.60, equating to around 11 times the average wage.

When we considered secondary factors, Bristol scores surprisingly badly for pollution levels, given its green credentials, and it has also seen a reasonably high number of businesses close in recent years.


At home in Bristol

Charlie Guy is a Bristol University graduate and co-founder of LettUs Grow, a startup that designs aeroponic systems for growing produce indoors. The company was recently awarded €100,000 by the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, a sustainable entrepreneurship competition hosted in Amsterdam.

Charlie said: “There is a fantastic community in Bristol which has been so supportive from the very start, so it’s great to get some recognition for the really exciting work happening here in the city.

“It’s not just technology firms, there are so many projects and organisations who have gotten involved and are working together to come up with sustainable solutions for the future.”



We’re gradually getting through our Best Places list and tomorrow will reveal which town or city is in seventh heaven. Keep your eyes peeled!


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


  UK town/city
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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