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New research unveils Newcastle as the ultimate hub for small business success

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Newcastle emerges as the top UK ‘toon’ to start a small business in 2024, followed by London, Leicester and Coventry.

  • Research by Simply Business found Newcastle, London and Leicester earn the top three spots of the best UK cities to start a small business
  • Cities ranked based on six factors – including business growth  average rent and turnover 

Entrepreneurs have a lot to consider when choosing a location for their small business, from growth opportunities and potential earnings, balanced alongside living costs and quality of life. 

With that in mind, new research from small business insurer, Simply Business, has revealed the top spots for entrepreneurs across the UK, with Newcastle taking the top spot for setting up a business.  

The findings come as part of Simply Business’ new Best UK Cities for Small Businesses Index for 2024. The cities have been ranked based on factors including business growth, average turnover, average monthly rent, coworking locations, quality of life, and the effectiveness of startup programmes. 

Fine Toon Your Small Business Prospects in Newcastle

Newcastle claimed top spot for most new businesses started in 2023. The city scored well for growth in new businesses and average turnover. It also has cheaper monthly rent than many other cities on the list, making it an attractive option for people venturing into self-employed life. Newcastle came second when looking at startup 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, startup programmes, and coworking spaces. These factors contribute to the city securing second place on the list but with an average monthly rent of £2,125, entrepreneurs could consider more affordable cities in the UK. Such as Leicester, Coventry and Doncaster which follow London for the best cities to start a business in 2024, with much more affordable monthly rent. 

Top 15 cities to start a small business in 2024:

  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

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, comments:

“Small businesses sit at the heart of our communities and play a vital role in our local and national economy. Our recent SME Insights Report revealed that more than a quarter (26%) of small business owners in the UK believe that they will be forced to cease trading if the outlook for their business does not improve. Half of SME owners believe the rising cost of living is the most glaring challenge facing their business with rising taxes, interest rates, and inflation eating into profit margins. 

“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 startup programmes, average monthly rent and coworking 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.”

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