The best and worst places to start a business in the UK unveiled

The research assessed over 350 districts, counties and unitary authorities across Britain on a range of details

business UK

The best and worst places to start a business in the UK unveiled. Source:

According to Ember, Worcestershire town tops the rankings after scoring highly in a number of key indicators for business success.

Redditch scored well for having one of the country’s best rates of new business births compared to new business deaths. The latest data shows that in 2019, for every new business that failed in the area, two new enterprises were started – the second-highest ratio in Britain. Redditch also has a low median salary, enabling access to a low-cost workforce.

Wyre Forest, also in Worcestershire, placed second on the ranking of Britain’s best places to start a business, thanks to the country’s best rate of new business births compared to deaths, with three new companies started for everyone that failed.

Kingston upon Hull ranked in third, performing particularly well in the categories measuring the number of successful business in the region, as well as a median wage lower than much of the UK.

Corby in Northamptonshire placed in fourth, while Telford and Wrekin in Shropshire came in 5th.

The best places in Britain to start a business

  • Redditch, Worcestershire – 8.145 points
  • Wyre Forest, Worcestershire – 8.020 points
  • Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire – 7.854 points
  • Corby, Northamptonshire – 7.849 points
  • Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire – 7.834 points
  • Burnley, Lancashire – 7.796 points
  • Kensington and Chelsea, London – 7.779 points
  • Thanet, Kent – 7.774 points
  • Southwark, London – 7.770 points
  • Westminster, London – 7.770 points

The worst places in Britain to start a business

  • Ribble Valley, Lancashire – 6.832 points
  • Na h-Eileanan Siar (Outer Hebrides), Scotland – 6.594 points
  • Shetland Islands, Scotland – 6.429 points
  • Copeland, Cumbria – 6.168 points
  • Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria – 5.867 points

At the other end of the scale, Barrow-in-Furness ranked at the bottom of the list. It is the only area in the study in which none of its businesses registered as high growth enterprises, which is defined as company with average growth greater than 20% per annum over a three-year period.

In second to last place is Copeland in Cumbria, which also has a low rating for its proportion of high growth enterprises, while its median salary is the second-highest in the study – a challenge for would-be entrepreneurs.

The Shetland Islands was third last, with a ratio of only two new businesses being started for every three that failed in 2019.

Na h-Eileanan Siar, also known as the Outer Hebrides, was fourth from bottom, while Ribble Valley in Lancashire rated as the UK’s fifth worst place to start a new business.

There are so many factors that go into building a successful business, so it’s intriguing to crunch the numbers and see which areas perform best across multiple metrics. Any person who decides to start their own business deserves the best chance of success
Daniel Hogan, Ember co-founder 

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