Which are the most entrepreneurial cities in the UK?

After a challenging 18 months for business,’ Instant Offices has analysed the population to startup ratio across the country’s top cities to discover which locations saw the highest concentration of entrepreneurs in the last 12 months.  According to a recent study, one in five UK adults plans to launch a business before 2021 is over.   

In 2020 the country saw a significant surge in companies registered, with an increase of 59%; despite the economic uncertainty and risks that could come from that year, COVID-19 certainly did not stop people from taking the plunge and starting a business.   

Before the rise of COVID-19, from 2016 to 2020, redundancy and unemployment were driving entrepreneurship in the UK. AXA research found that 30% of small businesses founded during this time were started by people who had been made redundant or had been unemployed.  

After the surge in new businesses last year, entrepreneurship is still on the rise in the UK, with 48,350 companies registered since the start of 2021.  

Who Are Top 5 Most Entrepreneurial Cites? 

City % Increase in business’s launched Entreprenurial Index 
Manchester 31.94% 34 
Leicester 45.78% 38 
London 40.66% 46 
Nottingham 31.89% 53 
Bristol 25.91% 59 

Manchester came out on top as the UK’s most entrepreneurial city, with a 32% increase in the number of businesses registered in 2020, meaning one company was registered per every 34 people living in the city. The most popular sectors in Manchester include retail, online sales, and the e-commerce sector.   

Leicester closely follows Manchester, with an entrepreneurial index of 38, with the city seeing an impressive 46% rise in new business registrations between 2019 and 2020.  

Leicester was also ranked as one of the UK’s most popular entrepreneurial hotspots by a nationwide study, which found that 5,345 new businesses had been registered in the city since the start of lockdown. This marked a rise of 72% year on year.  

Surprisingly, London ranks third on the list this year, as more businesses were registered outside the capital.   

Over the past year, we have seen so many businesses reevaluate their real estate portfolios in 2020, meaning some suburban locations saw demand for flexible office space surge by 100%.  If you are in this line of business, you might want to get the latest idx reviews using the link so you can stay ahead of your competitors.


Instant Offices built their own tool to analyse Companies House data and uncover how many new businesses were launched in some of the UK’s top cities between 2019 and 2020. They overlaid this with population data to discover which cities had the highest new business to population ratio. These are ranked in their Entrepreneurial Index. 

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