Best Place for Starting Your Own Business – Each UK Region Ranked

TNT’s ‘Roaring Regions’ Index: How does each UK region rank for starting a business

Starting a business in London

Got an idea for an exciting new product or service? With the growing popularity of online sales and e-commerce over the last decade, it’s arguably never been easier to start your own business. After all, a reliable home internet connection can be all it takes to get that first order – and to get your enterprise up and running.

But how much does where you’re based matter when you’re starting your own business? Is it better to be in one part of the country than another? Using several key factors such as the competition and the pool of skilled people to recruit from, we rank the UK regions to help you find out if location, location, location really is the key to business success.


Starting your own business – UK regions ranked


Roaring Regions Heatmap

As our ‘Roaring Regions’ index heatmap shows, the gap between the lowest and highest-ranked UK regions isn’t substantial when it comes to starting your own business. It maybe comes as no surprise that London and the South East have performed strongly – the economic imbalances of the UK are well documented.

But what may surprise budding business owners is that other regions aren’t far behind, boosted by factors that aren’t immediately obvious. Did you know, for example, the North East performs well for the affordability of housing (buying and renting) – and that can help should you need to hire staff for your new business who’ll need to find somewhere to live.

The South West, meanwhile, has the best business start-up survival rate over five years (46%).

By looking at a range of factors that could be important when starting a business, we found that no region dominated. A region could score well for one area, but relatively poorly for another.


Ranking the UK regions: How we worked it out

To rank the 12 UK regions, we looked at 12 separate factors that have a bearing on the success off a business in some form or another. These were:

  • The number of people (16-64yrs) either in work or looking for work (economically active)
  • The number of economically active people as a proportion of the total regional population
  • The share of the regional working age population with NVQ4+ or equivalent qualification
  • The number of businesses in a region per 10,000 adults
  • Business start-up survival rate after one year
  • Business start-up survival rate after five years
  • Regional Gross Value Added – the value of goods and services produced in each region
  • Ultrafast broadband coverage (at least 300Mbps)
  • Geographical 4G coverage from at least one operator
  • Housing affordability ratio
  • Average cost of renting a home
  • Average weekly asking rent for commercial premises


Start up survival rate


Our data for each variable has bene sourced from organisations such as Nomis and the Office of National Statistics, as well as Ofcom, HomeLet and Zoopla. The data is as up to date as possible – and has been indexed numerically to produce the final ranking score.


Where is the best place to start your own business?

Our research revealed that London performed strongest in several areas – including the number of economically active people (4.89 million), a gross value added figure of £431bn and ultrafast broadband/4G coverage. It also has the highest number of businesses per 10,000 adults, which suggests a strong regional market in which to start a business.

But there are some notable factors for which other regions outperform the capital:

  • East of England has the highest business start-up survival rate after one year (94%)
  • Northern Ireland and Scotland offer the most affordable housing, based on ratio of earnings to average property price
  • North East England is the most affordable region to rent a home or commercial space
  • East and West Midlands are two of the five UK regions with 100% 4G coverage


Key takeaways

Does location matter when starting a business?

If you’re planning on starting your own business, one of the key learnings from our research is to look at the wider picture. While you might think somewhere like London or the South East is where the immediate opportunities are, there are other factors that could cause you headaches later in the life of your business.

For digital and ecommerce start-ups in particular, your online presence matters more than your physical one. You don’t need to worry about how your products get from one end of the country another either.

With TNT Direct’s efficient and secure UK parcel delivery services, it’s never been easier for you to deal with all UK regions wherever your based. From Aberdeen to York via Belfast, Cardiff and London – TNT Direct’s courier services includes next day by 9am, 10am and 12pm so you can keep your customers happy and generate those all-important profits.

It’s not so much where you are that matters when starting your own business, but what you do and how you do it. Bear that in mind and you’ll succeed from wherever you’re based in the UK.


Image(s) courtesy of iStock.

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