The British



A Guide to Entrepreneurialism

Across the UK

Across the country, every year young entrepreneurs and businessmen and women decide to take a leap of faith and put their ideas into practice, and although unfortunately some will not last, many will go on to achieve great success in their various fields.

Using data from across the UK we have established which areas of the country are currently booming with new businesses, what chances startups have of succeeding, and which sectors have seen the biggest startup growth over the past half-decade.

Which cities have the most

self-employed workers, and which have seen the biggest growth in new startups?

The biggest city in the country also has the biggest percentage of self-employed workers, as 18% of all workers in Greater London are self-employed. Greater London has just under 3.8 million total workers, 864,000 of whom are self-employed.

In second place comes the Swansea Bay City Region which incorporates Swansea, Pembrokeshire and Port Talbot, with a total of 263,000 workers. 50,000 are self-employed which means 16.1% of the area’s workforce are self employed.

Staying in the South we come to the West of England (Bristol) where 14.9% of workers are self-employed. This city region which includes Bristol as its biggest city has 74,000 self-employed workers from a total of 422,000.

The top 3 self-employed city regions

Key Total Employees Number of Self Employed Percentage of Self Employed

Ranked #1

Greater London

3.8 million



Ranked #2

Swansea Bay City




Ranked #3

West of England




City regions with the highest number of self-employed workers


City Region

Total Employees

Number of self

Percentage of Self

Which local authorities have

seen the biggest growth in new startups?

We have looked at the rate at which startups were founded in 2018 and 2019 to see which local authority area has had the biggest surge in new businesses.

The majority of areas saw a growth, the top ten was dominated by the South and the Midlands, with Oldham being the top ranked Northern area, coming in at eleventh. The top three are as follows:

The top 3 local authorities for startup growth

Key 2018 New Startup Births 2019 New Startup Births Difference

Ranked #1

Bromsgrove, West Midlands




Bromsgrove is a medium-sized market town situated in Northeast Worcestershire, with a population of just under 30,000. Startups founded in 2019 equate to over a fifth of the population of the town itself. Previously famous for its nail making, these numbers have nailed Bromsgrove to the top of the rankings.

Ranked #2

Wyre Forest, West Midlands




Geographically very close to Bromsgrove, and even closer on this list is the Wyre Forest, which comes in second with an increase of 142%. This district encompasses towns such as Kidderminster and Stourport-on-Severn and has an estimated population of around 100,000.

Ranked #3

Redditch, West Midlands




Completing the West Midlands trifecta, locking out the top of the rankings is Redditch. The town just south of Birmingham is the second-largest city in Worcestershire and comes in third in the rankings with a 131.6% increase [self-employed/startups] in 2019.

Local authorities with the biggest growth in new startups


Local authority


2018 New Business

2019 New
Business Births


Startup survival rates

across the UK

Unfortunately, not every new startup goes on to great success and sadly many fail fairly quickly.

Of the 350,505businesses started in 2014, only 148,870 survived five years.

By looking at the survival rate of new businesses over a five year period, between 2014 and 2019 we have been able to identify the areas where startups are most likely to survive.

Top 3 startup survival rates across the UK

Key 2014 New Startups 2019 Five Year Survival Five-Year Survival Rate

Ranked #1

Ballymena, Northern Ireland




Ranking first in the list is Ballymena in County Antrim, Northern Ireland with 75 of the 135 startups surviving at least five years. The survival rate in Ballymena is 55.56%, significantly higher than the UK average of 43.92%.

Ranked #2

West Somerset, West Midlands




West Somerset is officially the UK district with the highest average age of residents, at 52. This staying power is reflected in the survival of businesses, with 54.55% still going strong five years after their genesis.

Ranked #3

Torridge, South West




Sticking in the South West for third place is the district of Torridge in Devon. In 2009 for his ‘Toy Stories’ TV show, presenter James May attempted to build a 10-mile model railway to Torridge’s biggest town of Bideford, and although that failed, 54.17% of startups in the area did not.

Startup survival rates across the UK


Local authority


New Startups

Five Year Survival

Survival Rate

Sectors experiencing the fastest

growth in new startups

Entrepreneurs launch startups in every sector imaginable, but some sectors are booming while others are in decline.

To discover which sectors are growing fastest in the UK, we have calculated the increase in startups in each sector over five years between 2014 and 2019.

Top 3 sectors experiencing the fastest growth in new startups

Key 2014 New Startups 2019 New Startups Increase

Ranked #1

Postal and Courier Services




By far the biggest sector to experience growth during the past half-decade is Postal and Courier services, with over 100% higher growth than any other sector. With the continued rise in online shopping and trading during this period it is unsurprising more courier services have sprung up.

Ranked #2

Veterinary Activities




The second-ranked sector is Veterinary Activities, with 695 startups in 2019, an 87.8% increase from 370 in 2014. In the UK it is estimated that 12 million households have pets, leading to demand for veterinary services. This is likely to continue to be a growth sector, with a spike in pet ownership during the COVID-19 lockdowns. , and with the demand for more pets during lockdown the sector is surely going to continue to grow.

Ranked #3





Because so many products are manufactured in the country every year, all of the smaller more specific sectors are grouped together under ‘other manufacturing’. During the five year period recorded, other manufacturing sectors achieved the third highest increase in startups, with an increase of 82.9%.

Sectors in the UK



New Startups

New Startups

Increase /


Which towns and cities (outside of London) are most attractive to

launch a new business?

Starting a business can be a daunting prospect with many more worries and considerations to take into consideration for prospective entrepreneurs. But why not give yourself and your business the best chance possible to succeed?

By combining data on a number of important factors we have been able to calculate an overall score out of ten for 50 of England’s biggest towns and cities outside of the capital. These factors are: The rise in the number of startups, the five year startup survival rate, and the number of Tide registered businesses as a percentage of the town's population.

Top 3 most attractive towns and cities to launch a new business outside of London

Key Overall Score

Ranked #1



The most attractive town to launch a new business in is Bournemouth in Dorset. The primary reason for Bourenmouth’s high ranking is the 95.8% increase in startups between 2018 and 2019, this is by far the highest of any of the top 50 towns and cities. Bournemouth also has a 5 year survival rate of 45.65% which makes it the fifth best performing city by this regard. The city also ranks in the top 15 for registered business’ as a percentage of the population.

Ranked #2



The Hertfordshire town of Stevenage comes second in the rankings with an overall score of 7.7/10. Consistency is key to the towns high score as they feature in the top seven towns and cities for each ranking factor, the highest ranking aspect are the registered businesses, there are 520 in Stevenage which accounts for 0.59% of the population. On top of this there is a 45.54% five year survival rate for startups in the town, and there was a 26.7% rise in new businesses between 2018 and 2019.

Ranked #3



Another Southern town comes third in the rankings with Watford scoring 7.45/10. Just like Stevenage, the scores for Watford are very consistent as they rank in the top ten for every scoring factor. There was a 38.1% increase in startups between 2018 and 2019 which is the fifth highest of the top fifty cities, moreover there is a five year survival rate of 45.45% in the town. There are 482 registered businesses in the town which is equivalent to 0.5% of the population.

The towns and cities outside of London most attractive to launch a new business?



In Startups %

Five Year
Survival Rate

Tide Registered

Buisnesses Per


Highest scoring town/city for each factor

Out of these top 50 English towns and cities, Bournemouth has the highest increase in new startups of 95.8%.

However if you are looking for a business to stand the test of time, Doncaster is the place to go, as the South Yorkshire town has a five-year survival rate of 65.78%.

Birmingham was the city where most people registered for a business bank account with Tide, with 3,651 registrations.