It ain’t what you do, it’s the place that you do it

New research has shown that the success or failure of a start-up company could depend on its location – and the best locations might raise an eyebrow or two…

Relying on the gut instinct that a start-up business in the UK would thrive ‘where the action is’ in London, Manchester or Birmingham could have the enterprise heading for failure before you’ve got the web site built.

That’s the warning from a new report produced by volume printer Solopress, which examines a series of factors to pick out the cities most likely to nurture a successful business outcome.

It’s not a list which would select Sunderland as the place to be – and yet that’s the place with the highest five-year survival rates for new companies. Half of start ups created there are still in business that long after creation.

So if it’s not those big three cities, where should a startup start up? Matching research data and some nifty calculation, Solopress has come up with a list of ten locations – five each of the best and worst places for startups.

The best

  1. Aberdeen
  2. Leicester
  3. Cambridge
  4. Southampton
  5. Oxford

There’s no coincidence in the numbers in this list; that’s the league table calculated in the report. The calculations, which ought to shake up the British business landscape, are based on the right mix of available talent, affordance costs, and convenience. The next list, however, is of places offering the least potential for startups based on a series of factors, and is in no particular order…

The worst

  • London
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Reading

Aron Priest is a Co-Founder of Solopress. His report says: “A new business must do its homework on convenience, costs and pools of available talent before it can set up shop somewhere, and the timing must be precise.

“The best-connected cities like London and Manchester seem the obvious choice for an entrepreneur with a dream and a business loan. However, variables like leasing costs and the average salary all weigh heavily, as do wildcard considerations such as the survival rate of other businesses in the area.”

And cities would do well to avoid hiding their light under a bushel. The report advocates a redoubling of effort, in a post-Brexit Britain for towns and cities to work harder to promote themselves as viable destinations for ‘fresh business blood’.

Mr Priest said: ““Our findings prove that you don’t need to be in London to make it

in the world of business. As a business based in Essex we can vouch that there are prosperous places for business all over the UK. It’s no longer about being based in the capital; it’s about the right mix of people, enthusiasm and an idea of the local economy.”

So what puts Aberdeen on the top if the list? The report says: “The meteoric rise of Aberdeen to the top of our Start Up Index comes amid a turbulent time for industry. The city is well-known as the oil capital of Europe, with an estimated 500,000 jobs created by the demand for offshore and processing services.

“But rising costs and peak production volumes have led to declining fortunes in the oil industry, as did the tumble in oil prices in 2014. Local initiatives like Opportunity North East are well under way, and helping the city diversify its offering. Now with a renewed focus on agriculture, recreation and life sciences, Aberdeen has been able to recover from oil and gas setbacks to become a more rounded place for business.

“As the city develops new specialist areas of business focus, opportunities for brand new business grows. Which is why, from our research, only Sunderland and Oxford have better five-year survival rates. Add to that a top-ten placement in take-home pay and a decent rate on commercial rent, and you can see why Aberdeen was named our top place to start a business in the UK.”