Salford edges out London as UK’s top city for start-ups

Salford has outranked both London and Manchester City Centre to become the top city for a new and upcoming business. Between the months of January and March,  as many as 1393 new businesses launched in the city – an increase of 85% compared to the previous year.

The well-known business company DueDil have recently carried out studies into this sudden growth in Salford and have found that the region is the most effective city at maintaining its start-up rate, predicted to create as many as 5,286 new businesses a year alone.

The managing director of Media City UK, Stephen Wild, welcomed this news. Media City is home to a wide variance of business clusters, including The Landing and The Greenhouse, both of which are helping to create a safe environment for many start-up companies.

Mr Wild stated that: “We have long recognised the innovation which happens here in Salford and it’s really great to see this being shown to a wider audience.

“At MediaCityUK, we have been working with a whole host of startups. Since we opened The Pie Factory in 2007, and as other spaces such as The Landing, The Greenhouse and more recently Tomorrow have opened, we have seen this go from strength to strength.

“What’s really exciting is the spread we are seeing – naturally we attract startups in TV and media, because of the strong opportunities to collaborate with companies such as dock10, BBC and ITV, and this is a real bonus.”

Mr Wild continued to describe how they ‘also work with startups across a range of other sectors; recent examples include the medical technology sector, where we launched a digital health initiative with PwC’.


“We are also seeing an increase in gaming companies, people working in virtual and augmented reality, and fashion startups. This plethora of creatives makes MediaCityUK and Salford a really exciting place to be.”

A number of other cities have overtaken London according to DueDil.

Town / City Year-on-year change (%)
Salford 85.49
Norwich 22.12
Liverpool 21.71
Oxford 18.32

What these stats show is that London is starting to slip down the chart when it comes to maintaining successful start-up businesses. The Capital only saw a small increase of 5.2%. London had produced the highest number of new start-ups for the first quarter of 2017, with 57,235 companies registering since January. In comparison, Manchester only had a growth rate of 1.9%.

In total, 173,100 new companies have started up in the UK between January and March 2017.

The head of development at Salford City Council, Shelagh McNerney said: “This is an incredible story and yet not surprising because this is Salford’s time.

“Salford City Council and its partners have created an atmosphere of growth and positivity which is encouraging a new breed of entrepreneurs. They are attracted by the accessibility and affordability of the city but also its culture and spirit.”

Salford is great for business

Alex Fenton, a lecturer in Digital Business at the University of Salford said: “The University of Salford plays a key role in supporting entrepreneurs to start-up new companies. We work closely with digital companies locally and our own graduates are contributing as well.

“Being based in Salford is brilliant, we have incubator spaces where students can set up companies and they are then happy to stay in the area because it is so well connected with the rest of the world, for example, Salford alumni Jamil Khalil raised millions to build his digital company Wakelet and he is making a great success of it in the city.”

Justin Fitzpatrick, who is the COO and Co-founder of DeuDil added that: “Interestingly, just a handful of the UK’s major cities made the overall top 20 for startup growth, with cities such as London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds all absent from the top rankings, suggesting that they are slowly losing their grip on their status as the UK’s startup growth.”

“The overall decrease in startup growth across the UK is perhaps demonstrating a cautious attitude towards enterprise with Brexit looming. Banks and alternative finance providers have an opportunity to play a role in growth through investment.”

Salford’s growth shows no sign of slowing anytime soon. It has grown to become one of the most sought after locations for new businesses and has even overtaken the capital. The links to major businesses will always be ideal for those looking to start-up a new company and Salford is forever catering to these needs.