Stevenage is the 2nd best place to start a business outside of London

Alfie Brown

The research combined data on a number of factors including the rise in the number of startups, the five-year startup survival rate, and the number of Tide registered businesses as a percentage of the town’s population, to reveal the best UK towns and cities to launch a business.


You can view the research in full here: https://www.tide.co/british-entrepreneurial-index/

Most attractive towns and cities to launch a business outside of London

RankTowns/CitiesIncrease In Startups %Five Year Survival RateTide Registered BusinessesBusinesses Per PeopleOverall Score
1Bournemouth95.80%45.65%8370.45%8.60
2Stevenage26.70%45.54%5200.59%7.70
3Watford38.10%45.45%4820.50%7.45
4Chelmsford3.80%47.21%9170.54%7.26
5Colchester27.20%44.94%5340.44%6.77
6Exeter21.10%43.96%6180.48%6.63
7Reading5.50%46.12%9110.42%6.40
8Peterborough9.20%40.91%1,2400.61%6.39
9Preston0.00%41.91%8560.60%6.34
10Blackburn11.90%40.16%9120.61%6.29

Bournemouth is crowned the best city outside of London to start a business. The primary reason for Bournemouth’s high ranking is the 95.8% increase in startups between 2018 and 2019, which is by far the highest of any of the top 50 towns and cities. Bournemouth also has a 5-year survival rate of 45.65% which makes it the fifth-best performing city in this regard. The city also ranks in the top 15 for registered business as a percentage of the population. 


The Hertfordshire town of Stevenage comes second in the rankings. The town features in the top seven towns and cities for each ranking factor, the highest-ranking aspect being the number of registered businesses, which accounts for 0.59% of the population. On top of this, there is a 45.54% five-year survival rate for startups in the town, and there was a 26.7% rise in new businesses between 2018 and 2019.
Watford comes third in the rankings, scoring consistently in the top 10 for every scoring factor. There was a 38.1% increase in startups between 2018 and 2019 which is the fifth-highest of the top fifty cities, moreover, there is a five-year survival rate of 45.45% in the town. There are 482 registered businesses in the town which is equivalent to 0.5% of the population.


Oliver Prill, CEO at Tide comments on the findings: 


“Taking the step into entrepreneurship is a big one, and I am always impressed by the number of people who are keen to leap into the unknown and give it a go, particularly in the last year, when we have seen an unprecedented number of new businesses emerge. It’s a very difficult step to take though, and as the data shows, not all start-ups make it.  


“There are a number of steps that new business owners can take to increase their chances of success.

  1. Before quitting your day job to start a business, try to run your business alongside your job – this can be exhausting, but it gives you the opportunity to see if the business can generate an income without the financial pressure
  2. When you’re ready to take the plunge and dedicate all your time to your business, take the time to assess how to use your time most effectively – the admin side of running a business is time consuming, but there are services, like Tide, out there to lighten the burden
  3. Fail fast – if something isn’t working, don’t waste time and energy trying to make it work, be agile and try something new. The beauty of starting your own business is that you have the freedom to take in the direction you want.” 

You can view the research in full by clicking here.