New research from Virgin Money forecasts that Cambridge will be the best city in the UK to start a business in 2023.

It beats, in order of priority in the top five, Edinburgh, York, Oxford and Portsmouth.

The study ranked cities on several factors important to businesses such as internet quality, high street recovery rate, employment rate and innovation. Cambridge scored highly across all metrics and emerged cream of the crop especially in terms of happiness and innovation.

The report provides a backdrop showing that recent years have been challenging for small businesses with an estimated 20 per cent increase in insolvencies in 2022 and nearly 400,000 businesses closing between 2020 and 2021.

Despite this, SMEs continue to launch new businesses. Last year saw a record for startups registered at Companies House with nearly 80 new companies listed per hour in the first half of the year.

With another difficult year likely ahead in 2023, it’s important that entrepreneurs set themselves up with the best chance of success possible, the report adds. That rationale spurred Virgin Money to launch its new findings.

Cambridge ranks in the top five for length of commute, people in employment and internet quality and is the top ranked for both happiness and innovation.

Cambridge is by far the best city for innovation, with 259 patent applications per 100,000 people, compared to Derby – the second ranked city for innovation – which saw 131 applications.

Starting a business is by no means easy, especially in the current financial climate, and location is only one aspect that can contribute to success, says Sharon Ellis, head of business networks at Virgin Money.

She remarks: “It’s great to see cities outside of London coming out on top in the study, which adds to the evidence that businesses are investing in thriving cities outside of the capital. Location is one of the most important factors when you’re starting a business but what else do you need to know?

“Start by mapping out your business idea and make sure it addresses the crucial questions you’ll need to ask yourself before beginning your journey. You’ll then need to write a detailed business plan to bring your business to life. Determine whether your business brings something new to the market and conduct surveys of some potential customers. It’s good to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses!

“You should then get your finances in order and think beyond just finding the right business current account that suits your needs. Think about what options there are to help you with your finances, including data and insights tools and start-up loans.

“Lastly, you’ll need to market your business. Make your company website user friendly and easy to use and don’t forget to use social media to get the word out!”

• For more information on the study, visit: