Informi, a website offering free support for small businesses, studied a range of factors from the 63 largest towns and cities in the UK to determine which created the most friendly environment for small and medium-sized businesses to succeed.
The website focused on categories including the amount of highly-skilled workers, affordability of housing and current business stock in the area.
Brighton came top of the list, due to having high business stock, or total number of businesses, per 10,000 population, strong broadband figures and having a skilled workforce.
Edinburgh was second due, in part, to also having a well-educated population of working age, while Northampton had a strong number of recent business start-ups and also had good business stock.
Julian Momen, chief executive of Northampton-based Carlsberg UK, said: "By being in the Northampton enterprise zone, we create a real sense of togetherness with other businesses. Most importantly, we have a town and county administration that are very pro-business and pro-development and growth.
"There is many benefits of being based in Northampton. First of all, it’s got great transport links so it’s very well located. But secondly, and more importantly, I think it’s got a vibrant business community here.
"We’ve got a lot of inward investment, good cultural development coming through the town, and a strong sense of history and heritage that plays well with what Carlsberg’s purpose stands for."
Other towns and cities to make up the top 20 this year include Warrington, Crawley and Preston.
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