Leeds named among best cities for startups outside of London

Leeds has been named the second-best UK city outside of London to start a new business, according to a new study based on government and business data. 


The business finance experts at independent price comparison website NerdWallet looked at government and business data to compile their annual study, which followed on from the 2021 edition of the study that itself followed a record-high number of business incorporation in the second quarter of 2021.


The first quarter of 2022 also saw growth of incorporations, with 56,448 companies on the total register, showing entrepreneurs’ determination to start businesses remains high, despite the many challenges they face in 2022.


Scoring the UK’s largest cities (outside of London) on how friendly they are for startups, NerdWallet’s researchers analysed the latest data from government and business sources, including from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).


Leeds came in second place in the study, ceding its 2021 first place status to the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. The Yorkshire hub dropped points due to having a smaller proportion of working-age people with an education reaching or exceeding NVQ 4, alongside a slightly lower average monthly pay for employees. In 2019, when the study was first conducted, the Yorkshire city took fourth place, meaning Leeds maintains its status as a leading location for new startups. Leeds also had the fourth highest business survival rate and the second largest active business population out of all twenty cities that NerdWallet researched.  Rounding off the top five, Leeds is followed by Glasgow, Bristol, and Birmingham.

The researchers for the study looked at key datasets on each city’s business survival rates, the size of its active business population, average rental costs in each city, population sizes, average monthly pay in each area and the levels of education among the active local workforce. 


To take into account the rising trend of remote and hybrid working following the Coronavirus lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, this year’s study also scored each city against Ofcom’s Connected Nations report which indicates how many residential premises have potential for full fibre in the 


Nic Redfern, Finance Director at NerdWallet, comments: “It is fantastic to see so many in Britain starting their own business despite the challenges posed by the current energy crisis and record-high inflation. As we build back from the pandemic it is essential that we do more to support new start ups in key UK cities such as Leeds to help unlock more of their economic potential. Outside London, Leeds is one of the leading UK cities for financial and legal services, but its economy is diverse with retail, manufacturing, and creative and digital industries also playing an important role.”


To view the full research, please visit: https://www.nerdwallet.com/uk/business/best-uk-cities-start-business/

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