The Berkshire town of Reading has been named the best place to set up a small business during the 2010s, according to a new study released today by Informi, the website offering free practical advice and support for small businesses.
Reading failed to top the list in any single year since 2010, but the town never fell out of the top six when focusing on the above criteria, and it finished second in four consecutive years (2013-16). Reading consistently performed well in the number of start-ups each year, access to highly skilled workers, and its overall business stock. Brighton came second in the overall study, with Northampton in third.
London took fourth spot, being held back by high business closure figures and ranking poorly for the ratio of house prices to average wages. Other areas to have appeared in the top ten include Scottish cities Edinburgh and Aberdeen, along with seaside resorts Bournemouth and Worthing.
Steven Drew, spokesperson for Informi, said: “The number of businesses in the UK has grown steadily over the past decade – up from around 4.5 million in 2010 to 5.7 million in 2018, which is around record high levels. With well over 99% of all businesses qualifying as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it is clear that the entrepreneurial spirit in our country is higher than ever before – and our leading towns and cities are helping to facilitate this.
“As the UK enters a new decade on the verge of exiting the European Union, its future economic success will ever more rely on our small businesses providing the goods and services that consumers need, both here and abroad. It is vital therefore that areas copy the example set by the likes of Reading and Brighton in creating the right environment for small firms to survive and thrive.”