New research champions Plymouth as best South West location for business start-ups

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(Last Updated On: December 23, 2020)

Businesses starting up in in Plymouth have an advantage over those anywhere else in the South West, according to recent research. The nationwide study placed Plymouth in 9th place, ahead of cities many times the size.

StartupsGeek.com, a digital magazine for small business and entrepreneurs,, reported that Plymouth scored well in the analysis due to criteria including fast internet speed and low start-up business costs.

Locations that ranked lower than Plymouth included London, Bristol and Portsmouth.

Business experts from online magazine Startups Geek found that Plymouth was the best location to start a business in the entire South West of the UK. The closest city to score more highly in the study was Swansea, almost 90 miles away.

Plymouth came out as one of the fastest-connected locations when it comes to business internet connections. The city ranked 5th fastest in the UK for average download speeds, not far behind Hull, which notably has the fastest average internet speeds in the world.

London, which unsurprisingly has the highest ratio of SMEs per population, was ranked 27th on the list. Despite low internet costs and a large pool of talent from its 24 universities; high salaries, office space costs and survival rate of 39% pushed it down.

It seems that the global pandemic dramatically affected Brits thoughts on wanting to become their own boss. Another study found 20 per cent of people were considering starting their own business or taking on a side job during the lockdown. The number of new businesses registered in Wales alone from April to July was just 10.7% lower than the same period in 2019 – with the equivalent figures for the past two months actually higher. In addition, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Wales reported an increase in inquiries from people looking to become self-employed. But many may be put off by their location and Start Up Geeks’ study aims to help potential entrepreneurs make an informed decision on which city to start a business.

Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said:
“It goes without saying that we think Plymouth is a brilliant place to start a business and we really embrace entrepreneurial spirit. Physically we’re located in an enviable position, sandwiched between the incredible south coast and Dartmoor National Park, which means living here offers a really unique work-life balance with all the benefits of a major city and plenty of blue-green space to enjoy right on our doorstep.

“From a logistical perspective, Plymouth has fairly low start-up costs which naturally makes it appealing. There’s also great internet coverage and speeds and we’ve recently begun the roll out of a £2.2 million ultrafast fibre broadband network, extending access to full fibre networks and making it much easier for businesses to connect in future. On top of this, our city has a network of large organisations such as the Council, two universities and the local NHS trust which are all keen to collaborate and innovate and really see the value in working with local businesses to do so.”

As the UK business community attempts to navigate the impact of the first global pandemic in recent history, Startups Geek posed the question: When the economy and the business world regain some measure of normality, where in the UK would be the best place to start a new business?

Their journalists delved into the data and put together their first ever ranking of 40 towns and cities across the UK.

The overall winner was Canterbury, with a start-up cost of £757,167 and a five-year survival rate of 41%.

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