The South West of England has been showered with praise for being one of the best UK regions for startups to thrive. There are many reasons for this. And just as many success stories stemming from the Swindon area, and most notably, Bristol. The suggestion that the South West is a Mecca for young entrepreneurs comes off the back of research carried out by the Institute for Youth Policy. Bristol came top of the list in best UK destinations for entrepreneurs, in front of bigger cities, including Birmingham, Cambridge, Glasgow and Manchester. This is driving entrepreneurs to the area to set up their business hub, but it is also good news for the region’s job market. With more startups heading down the M4 away from London towards Swindon, it also means there are growing numbers of jobs in Bristol and nearby areas. So, why are startups choosing the South West of England?
The location of the South West is beneficial to startup founders for more than one reason, which complements each other. First of all, the area is more affordable than London with higher business costs and expensive office spaces. Nevertheless, the location of the South West with convenient transport links back to the capital and other areas of the country means collaboration and partners are never far away. Not to forget that Bristol airport serves almost 80 destinations for more international cooperation and partnerships.
The South West also has a rich history of engineering brilliance and tech entrepreneurs. Railway, steamships, Rolls Royce and the Suspension Bridge, were all created in this slice of the UK. Moreover, one of the University of Bristol’s first departments was civil engineering and is still one of the busiest departments at the university today.
For many startups, escaping London or bigger cites is not just about finding cheaper office spaces. Instead, it is about finding shared offices that foster collaboration, networking and innovation. In the South West, this can be found in abundance. There are plenty to choose from in Bristol. With Swindon having Desk Cowork, one of the best-reviewed of its kind in the region. Having a wealth of these types of shared spaces is good for startups because they can seek safety in short-term contracts for office spaces with fewer financial risks in their most vulnerable years.
Many of the startups in the area are local people who have studied at the nearby universities. These universities have recognised that more young people are starting their own companies, side-gigs and ventures. This has caused a shift with more focus on giving students the tools to go out and start their own business successfully. With educators helping promote startup businesses in the South West, the trend is not expected to slow down any time soon.