• Home
  • News
  • Business
  • Top 5 UK cities for women to start a business in

Top 5 UK cities for women to start a business in

By Rachel Douglass

14 Mar 2022


Image: Sincerely Media via Unsplash, York

A recent study by payment provider Dojo has provided a run down of the best cities for women-led business start-ups in the UK, presenting potential opportunities as restrictions begin to end and businesses open back up.

Detailed in the report, Dojo referenced research by the British Business Bank which found that for every one pound of venture capital investment in the UK, female founders get less than one pence while male founders get 89 pence. It also noted that only 32 percent of UK businesses are female owned, 17 percent of which were founded by women.

Dojo’s study hopes to help women in breaking through industry barriers, with results based upon gender pay gaps in each city, the number of female employees and the amount of self-employed females.

Coming as an update to its 2021 list, the payment firm also added new data points to its index, considering elements such as average weekly pay, five-year start-up survival rate, cost of living and rateable floorspace value.

Top five cities according to Dojo

Chelmsford in Essex took the top spot, hitting top points for each factor considered for the index. Dojo found that 40 percent of businesses set up in the region lasted for a minimum of five years, while 36 percent of females were self-employed, one of the highest percentages in the list. In total, the city scored 65 out of 100, according to the index.

Worcester and Carlisle closely followed Chelmsford in second and third position, each scoring around 61. Like Chelmsford, Worcester was found to have a 40 percent self employed, female workforce, while Carlisle boasted a five year survival rate of 38 percent. Additionally, the border city is also home to the Cumbria Business Growth Group, which is dedicated to creating a sustainable working environment for female entrepreneurs.

Ranked in fourth place, York further looks to boost women-owned businesses through a MPWR group that supports them through events and information sharing. The city also had the highest business survival rate in the index at 46 percent, with Dojo stating the figure can provide confidence in business plans.

Derby came in the number five spot, offering one of the cheapest office floor space values at 70 pounds per metre squared and an average weekly pay of 790 pounds, the highest in the index. Its prime location near the Peak District means it appeals to tourism opportunities, with the area contributing around 2.5 million pounds annually to the economy, as reported by the region’s STEAM figures.

Other cities that made Dojo’s top 10 included Wakefield, Lancaster and Chester, all scoring above 54, while Sheffield, Nottingham and Leeds appeared further down the list with scores sitting just above 50.

While the index presented potential business opportunities for female entrepreneurs, it also showed that there was work to be done in driving the female workforce, with cities even in the list’s top spots nowhere near hitting full marks.