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These UK cities are ideal to start a new tech business in 2021

Image credits: T H Shah/Shutterstock

Undoubtedly, the pandemic has disrupted the global economy and has left a scar on it forever. While 2021 may not be felt like the most obvious year to start a business, Britons have not failed to use the chance. Many have proved their entrepreneurial spirit this year despite the pandemic effect and it is evident with a growth of 12.3 percent increase in new businesses in the UK, which is a record growth.

Given that there has been a surge in the number of new businesses in the UK, it is important to choose the right city to launch a business. This is an important strategic decision to see great benefits. An ideal business location can give access to the target customers, provide affordable infrastructure, and has local legal and technical support. Moreover, cost, infrastructure, and other legalities vary from one city to another.

Usually, in the UK, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester are best cities to launch a startup but there are many others that are overlooked. Though this is the case, these big business hubs are not ideal for all businesses, especially early-stage startups as these are too expensive and competitive.

There are less popular cities that can be perfect to start a business and pursue your entrepreneurial spirit. Here is a list of ten cities that you can choose from in the UK as listed by Fasthosts after considering factors such as regional metrics, survival rates and cost of office space.

#1 Luton

Luton has been crowned the top UK city for early-stage startups as it has proven to have the best rates of production, office prices and business survival rates among other cities. The city is said to be the best-all round UK location for aspirational entrepreneurs with an index score of 3.375. As per the report, the average cost of office space per square foot in Luton is £22 and the productivity level is 102.97. Some already popular tech startups based in the city are AiSolve, Chargemaster, OAG and more.

#2 Reading

Being home to startups such as Arkivum, EnerSys, Altitude Angel, and Parking Energy among others, Reading has bagged the second position in this list. It has a super high productivity rate of 126.9, which is the highest among all cities considered here but it lags behind in terms of internet speeds and office cost per square foot, which is £38. One particular advantage that Reading has got is its close proximity to London.

#3 Nottingham

Coming to the third city in this list, we have Nottingham, a major midlands player. The Bedfordshire town ranks marginally higher than the southern startup hotspot Reading. While the five-year survival rate is the lowest for Nottingham at a meagre 20 percent, the cost of office space per square foot is quite low at £14.88 percent. Also, the productivity rate isn’t too high at 86. Still, the city is best known for its bicycle manufacturing among others. Moreover, over 50 percent of its population are under 30, which gives it the benefit of having a young talent pool.

#4 Edinburgh

The Scottish city of Edinburgh is one of the major business hubs outside of London that is ideal to start a tech business in the UK. Despite being a popular city for startups, its quite expensive for startups as the cost of office space per square foot is £35. When it comes to other statistics, the five-year survival rate in Edinburgh is 1150 and its productivity level is quite high at 104.8. Some popular Edinburgh tech startups are Current Health, Celtic Renewables, and Skyrora among others.

#5 Central London

Central London, which is at the fifth position in this list of UK cities suitable to start a new business, its top scores are its five-year survival rate and productivity level at 32,985 and 132.3 respectively. However, the dowside is that the city is too expensive as the cost of per square foot of office space is at a whopping £112. Already, the UK capital is one of the biggest tech hubs as it is home to Revolut, Deliveroo, Arrival and many others.

#6 Liverpool

In the sixth position, we have Liverpool that has a productivity level of 91.7 and a five-year survival rate of 805. Also, the cost of office space per square foot is £23, which is affordable. The major contributors to the city’s thriving startup scene is its tourism, leisure, and nightlife sectors. Apart from this, it is home to a slew of universities that make scouting for fresh talent quite seamless. Evgen Pharma, SolidTrek, E-Sign, Keepme, etc. are some notable Liverpool-based tech companies.

#7 Portsmouth

A south coast favourite Portsmouth with an index of 3.109 has been ranked seventh in this list. This New Hampshire city is considered here for several factors such as competitive landscape, revenue potential, and a competent leadership team among others. Portsmouth has a productivity rate of 94.3 and a five-year survival rate of 320. Another notable aspect is its affordable office space rental, which is around £16.9 per square foot. If you aren’t familiar with the startups based in Portsmouth, then these include HappsNow, BioGreen360, and a few others.

#8 Coventry

With a productivity rate of 91.6 and a five-year survival rate of 605, Coventry has taken the 8th position as the best cities to start a new business in the UK. The West Midlands city’s per square foot cost for official space rental is £18.5. While the majority of the city’s economy lies in its automotive sector, there are thriving sectors such as fintech, research, logistics, and leisure. The medech startup Quantum Imaging, energy tech startup Zapinamo, and some other popular companies are from Coventry.

#9 Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton is at the ninth position here as there is a low productivity rate of 84 and its five-year survival rate is 380. Besides this, this city has the lowest office rental cost, which is the lowest at £16 per square foot. Moreover, the West Midlands giant has an overall index of 3.066.

#10 Bristol

Being home to tech brands Polestar, Tracklib, Xpansiv and many others, Bristol is at the tenth position in this list. The five-year survival rate of this city is 1140 and the productivity rate is 97.6. Otherwise, it is an expensive city with the office space rental per square foot being £35. The city has been named a leading smart city with latest technologies. Companies across different sectors, including electronics, aerospace, and creative thrive in Bristol, which draws tech and engineering talents as well.