Birmingham is the most entrepreneurial UK city outside London, according to data released by StartUp Britain. Analysis of Companies House data shows that 17,473 new businesses were registered in Birmingham during 2016 – an increase of 25% on the previous year, and more than any other city outside the capital.
Birmingham has now retained its position as the number one regional destination for start-ups for four consecutive years. The number of new businesses is almost double that of Manchester’s, which follows in second place with 9,416 companies registered during 2016, whilst Glasgow is third with 7,845.
Birmingham also surpassed London to become the country’s leading city for business growth rates in 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics’ business counts data.
Neil Rami, Chief Executive of inward investment agency Marketing Birmingham, said: “Birmingham has simultaneously outpaced the capital city to become the UK’s leading destination for business growth, and is the UK’s number one regional destination for start-up creation. The city’s young, talented workforce, newly developed infrastructure, and range of incubator and accelerator programmes, has fostered a strong ecosystem that fuels a culture of innovation.
“Start-ups and SME’s are crucial to the long-term health of our local and national economy. Through access to finance, mentoring schemes and initiatives like the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Growth Hub, aspiring entrepreneurs can stay in Birmingham to fulfil their ambitions. This in turn, creates employment opportunities for local people, boosting the region’s productivity and knowledge economy.”
Steve Hollis, Chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “These figures are testament to Birmingham’s entrepreneurial spirit and its ability to attract, foster and grow early-stage businesses. The city has maintained its position as the leading regional destination for start-ups for four consecutive years and is now home to 14,473 new businesses.
“Start-ups come – and stay – in Birmingham, not only because of the formal support they can access through for example, the region’s Growth Hub, but because of the skilled people they can employ, the cost efficiencies of being based here and the ecosystem of small to medium enterprises here. There is nothing like the support of peers, particularly those who are further ahead in the journey than you are.”
Growing start-ups based in Birmingham include Give Vision, which creates revolutionary wearable technology that allows people with visual impairment to see again; AMEY Vtol, a start-up which creates autonomous long-range drones designed to carry multiple sensor arrays; and Jewellery Quarter-based bar 1000 Trades.
Jonathan Todd, Co-founder of 1000 Trades, added: “We wanted a bar that combines a reverence for heritage with cutting edge contemporary – Birmingham is perfect for this. It has a prouder history and a brighter future than is often realised. Its past involves being ‘the city of one thousand trades’; and the best of Birmingham today recovers the same pioneering spirit of innovation that the city then embodied.
“The point of the bar is to be a platform to this spirit in as many different ways as possible. We couldn’t have opened a bar called 1000 Trades anywhere else.”
The support on offer to start-ups in Birmingham includes the Entrepreneurs for the Future incubation programme and Serendip Smart City Incubator at Innovation Birmingham Campus; venture capital and loans provided by Finance Birmingham; and local community networks such as Silicon Canal. The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Growth Hub provides a single point of contact for the region’s business support facilities, whilst the city centre’s Enterprise Zone and economic zones offer incentives that many start-ups can take advantage of, such as rates relief.