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Sunderland named 2nd best city to start a business in the UK

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Published on 17 December 2020

Start up business
Start up business

The University of Sunderland is playing a crucial role in making the city one of the best places in the country to launch a new business.

The experts at online magazine, StartupsGeek.com, have reviewed data from cost of office space to average internet speed to find out which city is the best in the UK to start a company – and Wearside is right up there.

 According to the research:

  • Sunderland boasted the top accolade of the cheapest place to start a new business. 
  • In Sunderland, the cost of office space is almost a quarter of London prices.
  • Sunderland was ranked the second best city in the UK to launch a business, beaten only by Canterbury. 
  • Starting a business in Sunderland instead of London would save nearly £350,000 over five years.


The research data analysed the cost over five years of starting a business, broken down into cost of salaries and office space. The research also looks into other factors including graduation retention rate, five year start-up survival rate, and average internet speed among others.

 Laura Foster, ERDF Internship and Enterprise Manager at the University of Sunderland, said: “It’s no surprise to us that Sunderland has ranked high in this poll. 

"It’s a fantastic place to start a business for a number of reasons; not least for the amazing business community and network of support here.  

"As well as a having a wealth of high quality office / workspaces, the city has been recently crowned ‘Smart City of the Year’ which recognises the excellent work that the City Council and partners have done to prioritise digital transformation; providing an array of services and creating opportunities for communities and businesses alike.  

"The University plays an important part in the community by connecting businesses with a range of expertise and support; from Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and Work Based Learning opportunities, to student/graduate Start-Up support and funding for SME’s to recruit Graduate Interns, we are well placed to help the region’s businesses start up, survive and thrive in what is likely to be a challenging year.”

It seems that the global pandemic dramatically affected Brits thoughts on wanting to become their own boss. Another study found 20 per cent of people were considering starting their own business or taking on a side job during the lockdown.

The Internships and Enterprise project is receiving up to £3,326,399 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

Joe Dawson, co-editor of StartupsGeek.com, said: “It’s often repeated that small businesses are the backbone of the British economy, and I think that small business has a big role to play in the economic bounce-back that we need after the trauma of 2020.

“The statistics in this study give us a snapshot of current conditions but it will be down to the next generation of entrepreneurs to capitalise on these opportunities.”