Northampton ranks fourth in Bionic's ranking of best places in UK for independent business start-ups
Northampton had the second most business start-ups in the UK as of 2019, beaten only by London
Northampton has come in fourth in a recent ranking of the best places in the UK for independent business start-ups, with some surprising numbers reported.
The ranking comes from market comparison firm Bionic, which used data from the Office for National Statistics and Centre for Cities to rate the 25 places most appealing to independent start-ups.
Intended to map out the best places for new businesses to set up shop, the study put Southampton at number one, with an overall score of 74.4 out of 100, then York with 70, Bristol with 65.6 and Swindon bringing up fifth with 63.6.
Meanwhile Northampton just pulled into fourth with 63.8.
Factors considered were:
Business start-ups per 10,000 population in 2019, the five-year survival rate, births of new businesses as a proportion of total active businesses (2019), deaths on new business as a proportion of the same (2019) and the percentage of small active businesses.
Others were the number of active businesses per 10,000 population (business density), the percentage of people commuting on foot, the percentage of unemployment claimant count rate (November 2020) and the rateable value per m2 of floor space, such as for offices.
Northampton's most striking statistic saw it rank second in the sheer number of new start-ups per 10,000 population, which stood at 89. This number was beaten only by London with a comparatively massive 107.3.
This could be due in part to Northampton's other stand-out statistic, with the cheapest office spaces of the entire 25 places ranked in the list at just £70 per meter squared. This tied with Derby and Leicester as the three cheapest office spaces considered.
However it is not all promising for Northampton's start-ups. While their numbers outsize York, Bristol, Swindon and Reading by around a third each, and stay just ahead of Southampton's 78.6, where the town falls down is in the numbers that live to sell another day.
Because businesses' five year survival rate, the baseline predictor for longer-term success, limps along at just 33.3 percent in Northampton. That means that just just one in three businesses make it even that far.
Compare this to the other top five places; Southampton at 42 percent, York at 47.7, Bristol 42.8 and Swindon at 44.4 percent and the difference begins to level out.
And with a reported business density of 517, there is no shortage of hopeful new businesses vying for the customers' attention.
But further analysis may yet be needed before we can know why the stats are skewed or, even better, how to bring them level with the 'competition' of other cities.