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Ipswich named by Informi as best place in the UK to start a new business

PUBLISHED: 10:37 19 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:06 19 September 2017

Felaw Maltings in Ipswich, the home of several successful business which also includes the offices of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.
Picture: Paul Nixon

Felaw Maltings in Ipswich, the home of several successful business which also includes the offices of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. Picture: Paul Nixon

Paul Nixon Photography 01473430707 07904296577

Ipswich has been named as the best place in the UK to start a small business.

David Ellesmere at the Ipswich waterfront. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN David Ellesmere at the Ipswich waterfront. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A high business survival rate, good availability of ultrafast broadband and low levels of pollution are cited as some of the town’s key qualities in a Top 20 ranking produced by the online business support platform Informi.

Data was collected from more than 60 of the UK’s largest towns and cities and analysed according to a wide range of factors which can help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to thrive, also including property prices, patent applications and start-up rates.

The report was welcomed by the leader of Ipswich Borough Council, David Ellesmere, who said he was “pleased but not surprised” by the findings.

“Ipswich has excellent road and rail communications, a new university and existing hi-tech clusters in and around the town,” he said. “All this is coupled with a clean environment, more affordable housing and a high quality of life here.

“The borough council has been working very hard to make Ipswich attractive to business, especially SMEs. We fund the Ipswich Entrepreneur scheme at the Eastern Enterprise Hub and have made substantial investment in the Waterfront Innovation Centre at the University.

“These help start-ups receive the knowledge, connections and confidence they need to turn their concepts into a success. Our new economic development team works closely with local businesses to make sure they receive wrap around support to grow and flourish.”

He added: “Helping business and promoting jobs and skills is a key priority for the council and we are working with others to invest in the town and its future, offering enterprise zones, a good availability of business space and a commitment to transforming the town centre.”

Nick Burfield, policy director at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “This report confirms what Suffolk Chamber in Greater Ipswich sees every day – Ipswich and its surrounding towns and villages are great places for businesses of every size and sector, but especially start-ups.

“We need to shout out about this and other evidence that shows Ipswich, and indeed Suffolk as a whole, is set to be one of the most business and lifestyle-friendly places in the country. We are a great place to live and work.

“In addition to the advantages listed, our county town has improving transport links to markets in other parts of the UK and beyond. With the prospect of a rail connection to London that takes only 60 minutes and, if our No More A14 Delays in Suffolk campaign is successful, improving road connections as well, the future looks great for our wealth creators.”

Following Ipswich in the table are Dundee in second place, Derby third, Cambridge fourth and Brighton (last year’s winner) fifth. Ipswich and Cambridge are the only locations in the East of England to make the top 20.

London also failed to make the cut, ranking no higher than 38th. It came top in terms of the number of business start-ups but this was offset by a high rate of business closures as well as high property prices.

Darren Nicholls, product manager for Informi, said: “SMEs throughout the UK create many thousands of new businesses in every town and city every year. This brings new jobs, prosperity and growth to local communities whilst benefitting the wider economy too.

“It is encouraging to see that there are a variety of environments where small businesses can do well, but for every success story there are still far too many failures, where businesses have been unable to survive and thrive.

“Those thinking of becoming an entrepreneur should seek out guidance and advice - such as our how to start a business in 20 days eBook – to help them take their first steps.”

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