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Oxford, Swindon and Bristol amongst the top UK cities for starting a new business, says Virgin Money

10 October 2022
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Swindon and Oxford are among the 10 best places to start a new business, according to a new survey from Virgin Money, with Bristol in the top 15.

The survey ranked businesses based on a variety of key metrics, including average commuting time, innovation and internet speed, amongst other factors.

The survey found the best places to start a business were:

  1. Cambridge
  2. Edinburgh
  3. York
  4. Oxford
  5. Portsmouth
  6. Aberdeen
  7. Plymouth
  8. Swindon
  9. Southampton
  10. Exeter
  11. Cardiff
  12. Gloucester
  13. Newport
  14. Milton Keynes
  15. Bristol

Cities were ranked on the following criteria:

  • Commuting time (% of journeys taking over 60 mins)
  • Innovation (patents filed per 100k people)
  • Internet quality (average download speed in mbps)
  • CO2 emissions per capita (% change 2017-2019)
  • Business churn rate (% change 2017-2020)
  • High street recovery rate since Covid
  • Unemployment rate
  • Happiness index

Sharon Ellis, head of business networks at Virgin Money, said: "It’s great to see cities outside of London coming out on top in the study, which adds to the evidence that businesses are investing in thriving cities outside of the capital. Location is one of the most important factors when you’re starting a business, but what else do you need to know?

“Start by mapping out your business idea, and make sure it addresses the crucial questions you’ll need to ask yourself before beginning your journey.

"You’ll then need to write a detailed business plan to bring your business to life. Determine whether your business brings something new to the market and conduct surveys of some potential customers. It’s good to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

“You should then get your finances in order and think beyond just finding the right business current account that suits your needs. Think about what options there are to help you with your finances, including data and insights tools and start-up loans.

Lastly, you’ll need to market your business. Make your company website user friendly and easy to use, and don’t forget to use social media to get the word out.”

For more information on the study, visit: https://uk.virginmoney.com/brighter-money/best-cities-to-start-a-business-uk/


Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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