Six reasons to start a regional business

The UK is home to 5.6 million (PDF, 403 KB) 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 (PDF, 782 KB) and schemes such as the Regional Angels Programme, now may be the perfect time to set up a business in your local region.

Research from The Institute for Fiscal Studies 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.

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.

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 (PDF, 202 KB) and investments in delivering regional rail upgrades 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 (PDF, 782 KB) to improve infrastructure investment in the UK, narrow the gap in healthy life expectancy, and provide funding to over 100 towns across England

Regional programmes 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 (LEPs) aim to boost local companies growth and impact.

Better broadband

Worried about starting a business in an area with poor broadband?

Project Gigabit – 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 that provides funding towards the cost of installing gigabit broadband in your business.

With more customers shopping online since the Covid-19 pandemic, 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 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.

Some offer support, such as Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rate Relief (RRR) for eligible businesses.

Several other business rates relief 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 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 (PDF, 7.1 MB) found that 62% of customers in the UK like to help small or local businesses.

Learn with Start Up Loans and help get your business off the ground

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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.

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