Bradford City Hall
Bradford has been named ahead of Leicester, Edinburgh and Liverpool as the best city in the UK to start a business, according to the Barclays SME Growth Factors Index.
The index is based on the respective strength of 12 key growth factors related to starting up a business such as business rate relief, infrastructure, labour productivity, and even broadband speed, which are all essential to boosting business productivity and growth.
The index is based on an analysis of the 20 largest cities by population size across the UK.
Bradford was ranked first overall, with top rankings in key areas such as road infrastructure, job vacancies, commercial rent costs, and business rate relief.
Leicester came in second place thanks to its strong business survival rate, small travel distances to work, and good levels of business rate relief.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Barclays’ analysis revealed that London, Birmingham and Leeds, the three areas with the highest populations, have seen the highest number of business start-ups over the last six years.
In the capital, almost 577,000 start-up businesses have launched since 2012, while Birmingham has seen 45,000 and Leeds have seen 26,400.
Caroline Pullich, head of SME for Yorkshire at Barclays Business Banking said: “It’s really encouraging to see that so many areas offering growth potential are outside of London and the South East, particularly with Bradford ranking as the top city across the UK.
“We undertook this study because we support small companies right across the country, and are keen to help more people start and grow businesses wherever opportunities exist.
“We’re committed to investing in Bradford’s SMEs and entrepreneurs, evidenced by our recent ‘Invest in Bradford’ business roundtable events with local key business people.
“Entrepreneurs do need to consider the market for their particular company, but an environment that supports growth can make a real difference.
“The growth factors identified by the research can become even more valuable when small companies start looking to scale up and grow, which is something we particularly encourage.”
Yet when it comes to the strength of the growth factors in these cities, the results are less positive.
London gives out some of the smallest amounts of business rate relief and has the highest commercial rent costs, appearing 12th on the overall list of 20 cities.
Birmingham comes in at 11th place, let down by its road infrastructure and poor quality of life, while Leeds ranks in 18th place, with poor infrastructure.
In comparison, just 16,800 of businesses have started in Bradford since 2012, 13,200 in Coventry, and 15,300 in Leicester - yet they have the strongest growth factors which are key to business productivity and growth.