JMS Blog

The UK’s top cities for start-up businesses

As the UK refocuses and reemphasises British infrastructure and industry, our economy continues to be bolstered by many new businesses – with around 70 new start-ups born every single day. Location undoubtedly matters for fledgling companies and is an important aspect of commercial success, whether you’re new to the game or have been running your company for years. Increasingly businesses are searching for premises in an area that has something to offer in the bigger picture – lifestyle and balance, commercial success, professional talent and business prospects to name but a few. Here we share six of the UK’s most sought-after locations for start-ups and businesses looking for a change of scenery.


Leeds is the UK’s largest financial hub outside of London – the favoured location of a host of high-profile investment companies and wealth management firms. A sizeable student population ensures a steady stream of talented young professionals, whilst relatively low-cost office space is fantastic news for start-ups and established companies alike. Add great transport links and a city buzzing with culture to the mix and it’s easy to see why Leeds tops our list.


Bold beachside town Brighton’s close proximity to London makes it a naturally attractive prospect for any savvy business owner or entrepreneur. But there are additional benefits – as its high employment rate is also countered by a ready stream of available talent. Buzzing with hip cafes and boutique coffee shops, Brighton’s culture also naturally attracts a broad range of businesses, especially in the nutrition, fitness, holistic health and creative media sectors.


Cheap office rents make Edinburgh a highly appealing option for businesses looking to relocate – with an average rental of around £66 per square metre. Scotland’s capital has major city status – so it’s a great choice for companies requiring a hub across the border.


Manchester boasts the highest start-up rates in the North West – and it’s not difficult to see why. The city’s multiple high-calibre universities ensure ample access to talent across a wide variety of professions – with excellent transport links ensuring easy access abroad and across the country. A cosmopolitan vibe attracts many to Manchester for work and play – with the newly developed MediaCityUK tapping into the creative hub’s rich resource of designers, performers and artists.


Picturesque Bristol is a hotspot for savvy start-ups – especially in the digital media and creative spaces. A high population rate is complemented by equally high employment rates – making Bristol a prosperous prospect for companies searching for talented, ambitious new employees. Office rental rates are high to reflect this – but close links to the capital and a start-up survival rate of over 60% make relocation to the city worthwhile for many companies.


York tops the UK’s list of start-up survival rates – boasting an impressive 68.1%. A great liveability score and fantastic selection of amenities make it a sizeable commercial hub in the North, but low broadband speeds and relative isolation compared with sister city Leeds keep it lower down on the list.

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