Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

Cardiff is the Best Area to Start a Business in the UK


Cardiff is the UK’s best region to start a business, new research has revealed.

The study by marketing training hub School of Marketing analysed the latest ONS data on the number of opening and closing businesses in 2021.

It found that the Cardiff area was the best place to start a business. 2021 saw 72.14% higher business openings than closures, with 3,460 new businesses in the region compared with 2,010 shutting down. This meant that for every 10 businesses that died, roughly 17 new ones started. In the city of Cardiff itself, the financial and business sector is the largest employer, with 20% of the city’s workforce employed in this field.

Mansfield comes in second, with 625 new businesses in the area compared with the 380 that closed in 2021, which meant that, for every 10 businesses that closed, around 16 more were started. The 260 new businesses in the third quarter of 2021 were not only the highest post-pandemic statistic but also the highest since 2017.

Wolverhampton comes in third with 50.85% more new businesses than closures, with 1,780 business births and 1,180 deaths in 2021. For every 10 businesses that closed in the area, 15 new businesses were founded. The city of Wolverhampton was named the fourth-best UK city to launch a business in a 2015 report by Quality Formations, so it’s clear from this data that the city remains a hotbed for entrepreneurs.

The best UK regions to start a business, by School of Marketing

Rank Region 2021 Business Births 2021 Business Deaths Births/Deaths % Difference Number of new businesses born, for every 10 that died
1 Cardiff 3,460 2,010 72.14% 17.21
2 Mansfield 625 380 64.47% 16.45
3 Wolverhampton 1,780 1,180 50.85% 15.08
4 Sandwell 2,140 1,460 46.58% 14.66
5 Ipswich 925 635 45.67% 14.57
6 Hull 1,345 925 45.41% 14.54
7 Broxtowe 580 410 41.46% 14.15
8 Darlington 590 425 38.82% 13.88
9 Bridgend 870 630 38.10% 13.81
10 Newham 3,570 2,625 36.00% 13.60

Ipswich comes in fifth place, with 925 new businesses and 625 closures in 2021. Around 14 new businesses were started for every 10 that closed in the region.

Hull comes in sixth place, with 1,345 new businesses and 925 closures in 2021.

Newham is the only London borough in the top 10, coming in 10th place, with 3,570 new businesses and 2,625 closures during 2021.

The study also found that UK-wide business openings were 4% higher than pre-pandemic numbers in 2019 with 386,200 new businesses in 2019 and 401,815 new businesses in 2021. Across the UK, 420,135 businesses closed in 2021, nearly 5% higher than the number of new companies formed in the same year.

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from School of Marketing said:

With many prospective business owners holding out to begin their companies with the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, this list not only shows the best regions to do so but also highlights how in many areas the economy is starting to flourish again. It’s interesting to see the diversity of the regions in the top 10, with Welsh areas, northern regions and London boroughs all performing well for new businesses.”

The study was conducted by the School of Marketing, which offers world-leading digital marketing apprenticeships in more than 20 countries, serving more than 4,000 learners worldwide.