Business development · 2 August 2016

Shetland tops list as startup survival found to be higher in remote areas

Shetland has the highest startup survival rate in the UK
Businesses started outside of London are more likely to thrive than those born in the capital, with Scotland’s remote Shetland islands providing the most resilient startups in the UK.

According to new research from eBay, roughly one-in-three UK startups survive longer than five years in London, compared with 45 per cent in South West England, 44 per cent in the East of England and 42 per cent in Scotland.

As many as 56 per cent of Shetland-based startups last longer than five years, while other high ranking local UK authorities with high startup survival rates include Melton in the East Midlands, with 53 per cent, and Purbeck in the South West, also with 53 per cent.

The research concluded that the resilience of new businesses in more remote parts of the UK may be due, in part, to a lack of business competition and access to transport or alternative sources of supply for consumers in those areas.

Conducted in partnership with the ONS and Development Economics a research body the eBay study revealed the ten highest performing local UK authorities in terms of startup survival were all located outside of the capital.

In contrast, London’s Redbridge recorded the lowest startup survival rate in the country, with just 36 per cent of new ventures lasted longer than five years.

The findings have been welcomed by the small business community, with the FSB’s Mike Cherry encouraged to see signs of prosperity and productivity returning to the more provincial parts of the UK.

Cherry said: Long-term prosperity relies on spreading growth across regions. An important factor in this stems from the support of [online] platforms like eBay which reduce the costs of entry to new entrepreneurs looking to start something new.

it allows [entrepreneurs] to rapidly develop their ideas and bring them to market quickly and cheaply. This emphasises the importance of continuing to invest in digital infrastructure and support startups across the UK.

The research also predicted some of Britain’s future UK startup hotspots. Documenting the economic performance in towns and cities in the years after the financial crisis, the top five UK locations that new businesses are expected to flourish in over the coming years are Northampton, Rugby, Coventry, Doncaster and Cardiff.

Hosting as many as 200, 000 selling individuals and small businesses on its platform throughout the country, eBay UK vice president Tanya Lawler said that it was the firm’s priority going forward to support startups.

our research shows the vital role startups play, acting as ‘satellites of stability? and employment. With sellers from Shetland to Suffolk, it’s vital we support them wherever they’re situated, she said.

Shetland-based eBay success story MatI Ventrillon explained how important the online platform had been in enabling his venture to grow. Designing and knitting bespoke products made to order from local Fair Isle wool it was critical to Ventrillon to be able to sell to the rest of the UK after setting up in 2012.



Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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