The UK is home to 5.6 million opens in new window private-sector businesses – with the number of business growing markedly across the country in the last two decades.
With investment flowing to devolved nations and UK regions through Government initiatives such as Levelling Up opens in new window and schemes such as the Regional Angels Programme opens in new window, now may be the perfect time to set up a business in your local region.
Research from The Institute for Fiscal Studies opens in new window reveals that the UK is one of the most geographically unequal countries in the developed world due to differences in earnings, health, and social mobility.
Future investment in business, transport, and technology aims to redirect economic growth into regions that need it most.
Starting a business in your local region therefore means you could take advantage of improved access to investment and enhanced infrastructure.
Discover the personal aspects of starting a new business with our free Entrepreneurial behaviour course opens in new window
As part of our Learn with Start Up Loans opens in new window partnership with The Open University, our online course is free to join, delivered by experts and includes a free statement of participation on completion.
Six advantages to starting a regional business
Starting a business isn’t limited to major metropolitan areas. Businesses based away from major population centres can thrive – and there are many compelling reasons for starting a business in your region.
Improving transport links
Funding for improving transport links and connecting different UK regions could make it easier to start a business in your local area.
Schemes such as the National Bus Strategy opens in new window and investments in delivering regional rail upgrades opens in new window aim to improve reliability, boost economic growth, and speed up journeys meaning commuting time is shortened.
Greater regional investment
Across the country, there are plans opens in new window to improve infrastructure investment in the UK, narrow the gap in healthy life expectancy, and provide funding to over 100 towns across England opens in new window
Regional programmes opens in new window are in place to improve access to investment funds.
Set up to help eliminate barriers in early-stage equity, these programmes along with Local Enterprise Partnerships opens in new window (LEPs) aim to boost local companies growth and impact.
Worried about starting a business in an area with poor broadband?
Project Gigabit opens in new window – a £5 billion investment scheme – aims to deliver fast, reliable broadband across the UK, focusing on businesses in hard-to-reach areas and premises.
The project also provides a Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme opens in new window that provides funding towards the cost of installing gigabit broadband in your business.
With more customers shopping online since the Covid-19 pandemic opens in new window, faster internet speeds and connectivity means your start-up can potentially reach more customers.
Local funding schemes
Support is available for your start-up, wherever you’re based in the UK.
Many areas have local business finance support opens in new window schemes.
These can either help finance your start-up, help source materials you may need, or help you cover premise expenses.
Councils and local authorities want to attract more entrepreneurs to their regions and help businesses grow.
Several other business rates relief opens in new window schemes are available that could benefit your start-up.
Bigger talent pool to hire from
Starting a regional business doesn’t mean you have to employ only local people.
Research by Timewise opens in new window found that the proportion of jobs offering flexible working including working from home rose to 24% at the start of 2021.
However, the same statistics show that the demand for flexible work outweighs the availability of jobs that offer it, with nine in ten people wanting to work flexibly.
Your start-up could adopt a flexible working or working from home policy.
This allows you to recruit from a wider talent pool, extend your recruitment process away from local cities and towns, and focus on more rural areas.
Aligning with local culture
Local entrepreneurs that serve their local community can forge strong regional connections and build an authentic, local brand.
This can help your start-up stand out from non-regional competitors.
Starting a business in your local area provides you with the chance to build a local network of loyal customers.
A 2021 UPS report opens in new window found that 62% of customers in the UK like to help small or local businesses.
Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.