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The UK’s newest startup hotspots revealed

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Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire among UK’s emerging startup hotspots.

Research from our data team suggests startup culture may be changing, with more rural-based businesses entering the landscape and more startup businesses forming in less traditional sectors.

Key findings:

  • Based on the volume of startup funding applications, Warwickshire has been the most active area for startup businesses since 2016
  • London is the only big city in the top ten areas for startup activity
  • Real estate is the most fundable sector, with a 17% application success rate
  • Sports, entertainment & media, along with real estate all have a funding approval rate above 10%
  • Business finance consultant Matt Haycox believes the archetype of a UK startup is changing


Based on an analysis of 833 startup and small business funding applications submitted since July 2016, the rate of startup funding application across the entire UK was almost 5 applications per 1 million residents.


London and Manchester saw 9 applications per million residents, and 6 applications per million residents, respectively.


But these are far from the highest business loan application rates in the UK, a list topped by less obvious places like Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire and North Yorkshire – all with ten or more application per one million residents.


Startup hotspots for new businesses


PlaceStartup funding applications per million residents:

Warwickshire – 22

Northamptonshire – 12

Gloucestershire – 12

North Yorkshire – 10

Oxfordshire – 10

London – 9

West Yorkshire – 9

South Yorkshire – 9

Cheshire – 9

Tyne And Wear – 8

UK Average – 5

Startups in construction, business services, food and beverage, retail, tech and healthcare were the most likely to make a funding application, accounting for 36% of all funding applications received.


Top five most fundable sectors


Based on approved applications, these sectors proved to be the most fundable:

Real Estate – 16.67%

Sports – 12.50%

Entertainment & Media -11.76%

Automotive – 8.33%

Retail & Consumer – 3.70%


Matt Haycox, a consultant at Funding Guru, believes the lending data tells an exciting story about startup culture and small business activity in the UK.


“When we picture a startup, we might imagine a group of young graduates in a smart office in Shoreditch or working out of a university incubator in a big city, creating a new app or online business.


“But our data shows there’s another story to to tell too, one where business innovation flourishes away from the big cities and tech hubs and takes place in garden offices and converted barns, without a software developer or ‘growth hacker’ in sight.”



Picture of Bobby Turner

Bobby Turner

Marketing, SEO & Stats Lead Content Expert. 12 years working with B2B, e-commerce businesses. Bobby has written for numerous accounting, financial, hospitality, and fashion publications worldwide.

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