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Leeds is the 12th most high growth small business friendly place in the UK

New league table reveals the most supportive places for some of the UK’s most entrepreneurial, fast growing business.

New league table reveals the most supportive places for some of the UK’s most entrepreneurial, fast growing business.

  • Leeds is home to 300 HGSBs and ranked the 12th most HGSB friendly city in the league table
  • Leeds is in the top ten urban hubs for location costs

Research published today reveals the best places in the UK to drive economic growth as some of the fastest growing smaller companies prove that they can be a force for regional revival.

The Octopus High Growth Small Business Urban Hub League Table identifies which towns and cities in the UK are best placed to support high growth small businesses (HGSBs) in 2016 and benefit from the local prosperity these businesses bring.

Last year, the Octopus High Growth Small Business Report 2015 highlighted the role HGSBs could play in driving regional growth, addressing the North-South divide and rebalancing the economy. Endorsed by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the report made the case for increasing the number of HGSBs by 25% in every region in the next five years, while showing that HGSBs have a disproportionate impact on weaker performing economies

In response to this, today’s research, produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), looks at which towns and cities across the UK are most HGSB friendly in 2016.

The league table is based on what the teams behind HGSBs told us were most important to them when building and growing their companies – finance, talent and connectivity.

Key findings


  • Leeds is home to 300 HGSBs and ranked the 12th most HGSB friendly city in the league table
  • Leeds scores well on Connectivity and Transport, one of the three main performance indicators, but is brought down on the Demography and Skills (19th) and Economic Growth (16th) pillars
  • Leeds is in the top ten urban hubs for location costs
  • 1 in 43 workers in Leeds are employed by a HGSB[1]

Simon Rogerson, CEO of Octopus, said:

It is exciting to see that there are towns and cities right across the UK that have the potential to support the next generation of HGSBs and benefit from the HGSB effect. These businesses are vital to our economic prosperity and there is untapped opportunity in every corner of the UK.

We need to ensure that the UK continues to create the best environment to support them. The Government has done a great job of supporting entrepreneurship in this country but more needs to be done for this tiny group of companies – HGSBs represent less than 1% of UK business – that are punching well above their weight.

Rachel Reeves MP for Leeds West commented:

High growth small businesses are making a tremendous difference to our national and local economy. With 1 out of every 3 new jobs last year being created by some of the UK’s most entrepreneurial and fast growing businesses, we need to do everything we can to nurture and support these companies. It’s brilliant to see that Leeds is home to 300 of them and it ranks highly for transport connectivity and it’s culture of creativity in this new Urban Hub League Table from Octopus. If we can encourage more of these businesses to set up and grow in our city then we can all share in the significant economic benefits that they bring to our community. We should get behind them and look to learn how we can better support them while celebrating and championing our existing high growth small businesses that are working hard to help our local economy prosper.

Other findings

The majority of our UK capital cities are hotspots for HGSBs

  • Three of the top five are capital cities: London takes the top spot confirming its role as a global hub of entrepreneurship, with Edinburgh and Cardiff at three and five, while Belfast ranks at 21

Northern Powerhouse – a house divided?

  • Manchester and Liverpool both make it into the top ten of the league table with Leeds just outside at 12, all boosted by great transport links and connectivity, accessible location costs and strong job creation forecasts.
  • Hull, Middlesbrough, York and Newcastle all fall into the bottom ten of the table despite Newcastle being ranked in the top ten for economic growth.

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