Newcastle is named best place to start a business

Written by: Rachel Miller

Date: 30 January 2024

Newcastle city centre

New research has found that Newcastle, London and Leicester are the best UK cities to start a small business in 2024, based on data including business growth and average monthly rents.

A study by small business insurer Simply Business, the Best UK Cities for Small Businesses Index for 2024, has uncovered the best place to be an entrepreneur in the UK, with Newcastle taking the top spot for setting up a business.

UK cities have been ranked based on six factors: business growth, average turnover, average monthly rent, co-working locations, quality of life and the effectiveness of start-up support programmes.

Newcastle saw the most businesses started in 2023. The city scores well for growth in new businesses and average turnover; it has cheaper monthly rent than many other UK cities. Newcastle also came second when looking at start-up programmes and business support, thanks to a great range of support offered in the region, including North East Growth Hub and an incubator network through Barclays Eagle Labs.

Unsurprisingly, London tops the table when it comes to average earnings, start-up programmes and co-working spaces. These factors contribute to the city securing second place on the list but with an average monthly rent of £2,125, entrepreneurs can certainly find more affordable cities in the UK, such as Leicester, Coventry and Doncaster.

The top 15 UK cities to start a small business in 2024 are:

  1. Newcastle
  2. London
  3. Leicester
  4. Coventry
  5. Doncaster
  6. Manchester
  7. Norwich
  8. Birmingham
  9. Stoke-On-Trent
  10. Glasgow
  11. Sheffield
  12. Liverpool
  13. Belfast
  14. Brighton
  15. Bristol

"We know finance plays a huge part in starting or growing a successful small business. A quarter of small business owners cited lack of funding (25%) as a major factor affecting their business. Which means regional support such as start-up programmes, average monthly rent and co-working locations take on additional importance in the quest to save on associated business costs. By thinking about where you set up your business, you can make sure you are best placed to hit the ground running." Alan Thomas, UK ceo at Simply Business

Small business owners are hopeful for 2024

Also this week, research by FreeAgent suggests that small businesses are hopeful for 2024, with 33% of small businesses saying they expect to perform better in 2024 than in the past 12 months. According to the survey, nearly half (45%) of small businesses made no cuts to their business as a result of the cost of living crisis and nearly three-quarters (73%) think they will avoid seeking extra funding to protect their business this year.

The survey has found that the top priorities for small businesses are: keeping on top of cash flow and cash flow forecasting (46%), expanding into new products or revenue streams (39%) and reducing business overheads (28%).

Emily Coltman, chief accountant at FreeAgent, said "It's encouraging that many small businesses are not only managing to stay resilient despite the ongoing cost-of-living crisis but also appear optimistic about their prospects in 2024.

"The data shows that many small business owners are aware of the main priorities they will need to keep on top of this year. Key tasks like monitoring and forecasting cash flow, staying on top of tax bills and keeping your business overheads to a sensible level are vital for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy business - and are just as important as strategic decisions such as expanding your products or growing your customer base."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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