Procurement · 9 March 2018

Britain’s best business hubs for funding-hungry startups

Best business hubs
Edinburgh was ranked as the best city for new startups

Frustrated with your local growth prospects? New research could help map your next move, revealing Britain’s best business hubs and the funding options available to small business owners.

The overall rankings, produced by MoneySuperMarket, evaluated which best places offered the best value for money and most stable prospects for both startups and freelancers.

Factors from hourly freelance rates, cost of housing, number of co-working spaces and broadband speeds were analysed to provide an overview of what each city had to offer Britain’s small business owners. Each metric was given a score out of ten to produce the final rankings.

To guide business owners through their options, Business Advice took a look at the local finance opportunities available in some of the top-ranking UK locations.

Funding options in Britain’s best business hubs

  1. Edinburgh

Coming out on top as offering most to startup businesses was Scotland’s hilly capital, the thriving home to over 20,000 small companies.

The greatest lure was identified as the Small Business Loan Fund – interest-free loans of up to £2,500 provided by Edinburgh Council. The East of Scotland Investment Fund also offers match-funded loans up to £50,000.

A relatively low cost of business insurance could also benefit smaller companies, as well as fast broadband speeds and the considerable number of co-working spaces.

  1. Leeds

Finance opportunities in Leeds made the Yorkshire city England’s most attractive location for startups.

Bristol has a range of funding options for its entrepreneurs

The Business Growth Programme offers grants of up to £50,000 for entrepreneurs based in Leeds, while the £35m Growing Places Fund helps startup founders access loans up to £1m, provided applicants find £3 of private funding for every £1 of the loan.

  1. Bristol

Third in the table was Bristol, where startup founders have a number of different funding options available.

The West of England Growth Fund offers grants between £10,000 and £80,000 for promising ventures. The region’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has larger investments of £1m available from a £25m pool, and a number of other loan funds with favourable interest rates.

Best of the rest

Other places given honourable mention included Northampton, where the LEP’s Growth Hub offers extensive advice to startup founders regarding their funding options, and Nottingham, which provides support up to £2m for projects with job creation at the heart.

Nottingham’s Creative Quarter was also commended for its investment in tech and life science businesses, with loans available from £500 to £25,000.

Outside of England, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Belfast all ranked inside the ten best business hubs for entrepreneurs looking for financial backing.

Take a look at MoneySuperMarket’s full list

Commenting on the rankings, Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket said starting out as an entrepreneur was both “daunting and exciting”, with location a key decision for newcomers.

“Whether you are leaving the constraints of the traditional nine to five in favour of a freelance career, or embarking on new adventures and beginning your own business from a co-working office, location is a key decision, as highlighted by our research,” Pratt said.

“For those setting up on their own, employee benefits such as life insurance are no longer available, making the purchase of new policy a nailed-on essential for any freelancer or business owner that has dependents.

“For those starting their own enterprise, business insurance is a crucial consideration. In addition, cover required by law, such as employer’s liability insurance, can cover the business’s other liabilities, its assets and employees.”

From traditional bank loans to crowdfunding, and from venture capital to invoice financing – there have never been more options for small business owners to finance their future growth.

But what business funding avenue makes most sense? Join Business Advice for our first webinar of 2018 when we’ll be taking a look at the business funding landscape.

Book your free place through our registration page now

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.