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Best Region to Start a Business in Each Industry

The UK has a huge amount of startups - 382,000 to be exact, placing the UK third across the world for the number of new businesses. However, whilst the UK scores highly for the amount of new businesses, it lags behind in the number of companies that develop into medium-sized enterprises – not even making it to the top 10 globally. Although starting a successful business can be an incredibly hard task, there are ways to ensure you have the best possible outcome. Such as launching an enterprise in an ideal location for your trade. That’s why Workwear Giant have uncovered the best regions for startups, based on the type of industry.  

The study investigated seven startup industries, and their startup potential across the UK. To do this, Workwear Giant calculated the percentage of businesses focusing on a particular trade within each region of the UK. The results then uncovered which areas had the least amount of competition for each industry.

Another important factor of the investigation included looking at two categories - industry and area statistics. Within these categories, the key points in Workwear Giant’s methodology included:


  • % of Businesses – Percentage of companies of the particular industry, within that region.
  • Share of Turnover - Measures how much the industry within that region contributes to the British sector’s turnover.
  • Share of Jobs – Signals how many people are employed in that sector within the region.

Area Statistics

  • Working Age Population –  Total number of people working age (16-64) within the region.
  • Unemployment Rate – The number of unemployed people (aged 16-64) divided by the amount of employed people in that area.
  • Office Rent Per sq. ft – Average cost of office rent space in the region.

Where to Start a Business in the UK

Some locations are better equipped for startups than others, no matter what industry you’re starting your business in. To understand each regions’ promising abilities for new businesses, Workwear Giant have mapped each area showing the working age population, unemployment rate and the office rent per sq. ft.

The Best Places for Startups by Industry

If there is a particular trade you wish to start your company in there are other aspects you can analyse to ensure your business is a success. Such as, the percentage of businesses in that industry, the share of jobs in that sector and the turnover in the industry and in that region. But, thankfully we’ve done all the hard work of evaluating so you don’t have to, read on to discover the best region for your sector.

Transport & Storage is The Industry with The Highest Amount of Startups

So, you want to start a transport and storage business? It’s not really a surprise you would be looking into this sector as it generated £200 billion in 2018. Better yet, the industry grows steadily 4% year on year. The industry has the largest startup rate at 18.7%, which is 5.3% higher than the UK average. What’s more the storage industry is predicted to grow further due to the decline of the UK’s high street and online shopping growing – currently sharing 20% of the market. But how will this positively impact the storage sector? Well, self-storage proves to be ideal for these types of businesses because of the flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Plus, with e-commerce growing 16% year-on-year - the largest increase since 2011, the demand for storage is only predicted to increase.

But one thing to be mindful of is this trade falls susceptible to industry strikes, which could be especially harmful for a startup. Last year, the industry had a massive loss of 187,000 working days – the largest out of all industries. In fact, the sector accounted for 68% of all lost working days in the UK.

The Top Two Regions for Transport & Storage Startups

  1. Northern Ireland

Nevertheless, there are still plenty of opportunities for businesses within this sector, particularly if you’re considering a startup in Northern Ireland. As of May 2019, Northern Ireland is currently home to 3% of transport and storage companies, which amounts to just half of the national average. What’s more is that office rent is considerably cheaper than the UK - at £10.75 per square metre - making it a cheaper option for startups. Last of all, Northern Ireland has a huge 92% success rate of businesses, so it’s less of a risk than other regions.

  1. Wales

Non-English regions top the charts again for the transport and storage industry, with Wales placing second under Northern Ireland. Famous for its mountainous countryside, Wales is seriously lacking in transport and storage companies, accounting for only 5% of the businesses within the country. The trade just employs 4% of the welsh workforce (2% lower than the British average), illustrating there’s a shortage of this industry in Wales.

Why Northern Ireland is Due an I.T Boom

The information and communication industry has seen a spate of advancements in recent years, which has probably helped make the UK one of the world’s largest ICT markets. In fact, the UK places 2nd in terms of ICT spending per head, with the US being first. With the advent of 5G and mobile data usage forecasted to hit the roof (from an average 2.5 GB to 18 GB per month in 2021), the industry is only set to get bigger.

The Top Two Regions for Information & Communication Startups

  1. Northern Ireland

If you’re an I.T whiz kid and consider yourself a bit of an entrepreneur, starting a business in Northern Ireland should give you a fair chance with only 3% of businesses in the region focusing on the information and communication trade. The region also has an abundance of talent, being home to top Universities such as Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, both with renowned ICT and computer science courses. With such acknowledged courses, it’s probably no surprise that Northern Ireland has emerged as a leading cyber security hub.

  1. North East

The North East does, however, come in at a close second having only 4% of I.T companies and just 3% employed in this sector, indicating there’s only a small proportion of competition. Although the North East only has a small amount of information and communication businesses, the productivity growth in this region has grown vastly – 126% since 1977.

43% of the UK’s Real Estate Turnover is Generated in London

Brexit has had a dampening effect on the house market, with house prices falling for the first time in seven years due to buyers feeling unconfident with the current Brexit chaos. However, economists in the UK predict house prices to grow 1.8% this year (2019). As well as this, real estate in the United Kingdom has remained a lucrative business. The most recent OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report revealed that the UK’s real estate sector has the 5th (out of 43) best economic output amounting to 13%.  

The Top Two Regions for Real Estate Startups

  1. London

Out of all the regions in the UK, London comes out on top for starting a business in real estate. The industry shares 2% of businesses in the capital, which is in line with the national average. However what sets London apart is that it shares nearly half (43%) of the UK’s real estate turnover. Which could be due to the fact that London’s house prices are the UK’s highest, with the average house costing £472,230.

  1. South East

The South East is another top contender for a real estate startup. The region shares the same number of real estate businesses as London, however the turnover marginally smaller. Still, there are other redeeming qualities for starting a real estate company in the South East. For example, the region is one of the most populous of the nine regions in England, having a population of 9 million. With such a large population, it can only mean a plethora of house buying or renting opportunities.

North East's Small Construction Sector Shows Most Profit Potential

Despite construction activity slowing due to Brexit uncertainty (output grew only 0.3% in 2018), the latest figures suggest construction is on the rise, with a 2.8% growth in January 2019. Meaning today could be a better day than ever to start a construction business. Workwear Giant’s findings have discovered launching your business in either the North East, Scotland or Northern Ireland could give your company a better chance.

The Top Two Regions for Construction Startups

  1. North East

The investigation shows the North East has the smallest amount of construction companies at 15%. What’s more is that just 6% of the region are employed in this sector, which stands at 2% lower than the UK average. However despite the North East’s construction industry being considerably smaller than other regions, it shares 12% of the area’s turnover. From a wider outlook, it also contributes 3% to the British construction turnover showing the area is the best place for a construction startup with plenty of room to grow.

The latest data suggests that 51,680 new construction companies were created in a single year and the North East only accounted for 3% of them. But the region still witnessed a massive 9% increase in construction startups and with an 88% success rate of businesses, it indicates the area is prosperous.

  1. Scotland

Despite an increase of 12% in construction startups in Scotland, construction only accounts for 16% of the businesses in the region. This is 2% lower than the UK average, making Scotland the second-best place for a new construction company. Additionally, the country contributes 6% to the UK’s construction turnover as well as 9% of Scotland’s turnover from all industries

Britain’s Manufacturing Placed 37/43 In Europe’s Economic Turnover

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) was formed to stimulate economic growth and trade. Unfortunately, their latest report reveals British manufacturing industry lags far behind from the rest of the world - placing it 37th out of 43.

However, this also means that there is potential for aspiring manufacturing startups. The latest figures reveal that the UK manufacturers’ product sales have increased by 4.1% since last year (2018), amounting to £380.7 billion in total. The manufacturing of food products also witnessed the biggest increase in sales – growing 6.4% to £4.2 billion in one year. This only highlights the potential for aspiring manufacturing startups.

With 9 out of 10 mid-sized manufacturers being held back because of a lack of finance, due to traditional banks unable to grant finance - it’s never been more important to make sure your manufacturing business starts on a good foot. Regions such as London, Scotland and South East have the smallest amount of manufacturing companies and therefore the least amount of competition.

The Best Region For Manufacturing Startups

  1. London

However, one area particularly stands out from the crowd: London. Despite manufacturing only accounting for 3% of all businesses in the capital, it amounts for 8% of the industry's turnover. In London, the manufacturing business also amounts for 3% of London’s workforce suggesting potential. Thankfully, the city has a huge working age population and an unemployment rate of 4.2%, you should have no problems hiring staff.

Today could be a better day than any to start a manufacturing business, with small and medium sized (SME) manufacturers extremely confident about future growth in the industry. SME manufacturers believe nowadays there’s an increased customer demand and a wider product range, helping to grow the sector further.

Instagram-Worthy Food Has Boosted the Food Service Sector by 6%

The accommodation and food service sector has grown tremendously over the past five years, with the emergence of trendy coffee shops and Instagram-worthy food and restaurants helping to boost the trade. The industry has seen a 6% growth since 2013, and is now worth a huge £100bn.

The Top Two Regions for Accommodation & Food Service Startups

  1. East Midlands

Although the sector has seen a boom in recent years, there’s still room for more. The East Midlands has the same amount of accommodation and food service businesses as the rest of the UK’s average (3%). However, the sector only employs 5% of people in East Midlands, well below the national average of 9%, highlighting there are only a small amount of businesses in this trade. A big concern for hospitality operators is rising rent costs with 39% of hospitality owners identifying this as their worry. Favourably, the East Midlands has the lowest office rent out of all the regions in our study at just £18.17 per sq ft., too.

  1. South East

Out of all the regions, the South East has the smallest amount of accommodation and food service businesses, with just 2%, yet shares a huge 12% of the UK’s accommodation and food industry’s turnover, showing the region is profitable but has a higher competition than the East Midlands. If you’re starting a company in this industry, you will no doubt need staff. Thankfully the South East has a high working age population and with a 3.1% unemployment rate, you should have access to a lot of talent.

Revealed: Yorkshire is The New Hotspot for Arts, Entertainment & Recreation Startups

The Arts, Entertainment and Recreation industry contains companies that are very of the moment like pilates and yoga studies, gyms and personal trainers. As well as cultural places such as libraries, museums and art galleries. The sector had a huge £106,789 million turnover in 2017, much of that can be contributed to the 19,000 startups in this industry (out of 382,000 across all industries) in the UK in 2017.

The Top Two Regions for Arts, Entertainment & Recreation Startups

  1. Yorkshire and the Humber

Yorkshire and the Humber proves to be the least competitive place for an arts, entertainment and recreation company, with only a small percentage of businesses in this area and a small turnover, there’s definitely room to grow here. With Hull being named city of culture in 2017, and its active title until 2020, there’s definitely a yearning for more of this type of industry in the region.

  1. West Midlands

West Midlands is home to the vibrant city of Birmingham, the city has major cultural institutions such as Birmingham Royal Ballet and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. With such a big cultural scene, you would expect a large amount of arts, entertainment and recreation industry in Birmingham. Yet, the West Midlands only has 3% of businesses in this sector and with an appetite already there for this industry, starting a business in this trade could attest to be profitable.