Study reveals Belfast is the best city in the UK to start a new business

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A new study into the best places to start a new business has revealed that Belfast is the number one city in the UK.

The research, which was carried out by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, analysed 25 major UK cities, looking at factors including average salary, cost of office space, number of grants available and even the price of a coffee, to determine which cities are the best for new businesses.

Belfast scored a total of 153 out of 200, taking the top spot on the list, mainly thanks to its cheap utility bills and fast broadband speeds. It also boasts one of the cheapest office space costs per square foot in the country, and also has more grants available for businesses than any other city in the UK - 118 in total.

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Leicester was the English city that ranked highest in the index with a score of 130, placing it second overall. The East Midlands city also has a high number of business grants available from the local council as well as one of the lowest average salaries in the UK, providing cheap access to labour for many startups. Brighton and Norwich also ranked highly as two more of the best cities in England to start a new business, while Edinburgh and Cardiff also featured in the top 10.

Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance studyHitachi Capital Invoice Finance study
Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance study

It may come as a surprise to some however, that London was one of the lowest ranked cities for starting a new business in. Despite being the city with the highest percentage of highly skilled workers, its high average salary and cost of office space meant it only 89, placing it 22nd on the list.

Leeds, which is the city with the UK’s most expensive cup of coffee, finished second from bottom with a score of 78, while Oxford was revealed as the worst city in the UK to start a new business with a score of just 67 out of 200. The city has one of the higher average salaries in comparison to other UK cities and the lowest number of grants available for businesses.

Andy Dodd, managing director at Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, said: “When it comes to starting up a new business, a lot of people think London is the place to be. While there are definitely a lot of opportunities in the capital, our study shows if you’re looking to start up and scale your business, it’s worth looking further afield when deciding where to locate your new venture.

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“One thing we noticed in particular when carrying out our research was the number of grants available to many startups across the UK, which can be a great way of injecting much needed cash into a new business. Cities in Northern Ireland and Scotland both have at least twice the amount as some cities in England, which is one of the reasons why Belfast and Edinburgh are so high on the list.”

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