Why Sheffield is great for start-ups
There’s no denying that Sheffield has an illustrious history in technology and manufacturing. But they city is more than its industrial past. The future is even brighter, according to Axa.
Sheffield has also become a hotspot for startups from all backgrounds, boasting an impressive 42% new startup survival rate and recently claiming a spot on startups.co.uk’s list of best places to start a business.
Here’s why Sheffield could be the future of start-up business success:
With The Sheffield College, University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam all located in the approx. 560,000-strong city, there’s no shortage of new talent. Data from 2014 shows that 130,000 working-age people had NVQ Level 4 qualifications or above, representing 35.2% of the population. That’s comparable to nearby Manchester (36.5%) and Leeds (34.2%), but Sheffield nonetheless operates a £130m Skills Bank to train another 40,000 people.
Average wages and house prices are also lower than nearby major cities, meaning employees can enjoy a better quality of life for less.
Sheffield offers numerous ways to get your business off the ground. Tech start-ups benefit from DotForge, Maker Hub and the Sheffield Enterprise Zone, while biotechs can turn to the city’s Bioincubator. Other businesses can seek financial support from the Regional Growth Fund, the Threshold Companies Initiative or the Sheffield SME Loan Fund.
Once your business is up and running, there are plenty of prime locations to set up shop – from St Paul’s Place in the city centre, to the Sheffield Business Park on the outskirts.
The ecosystem isn’t just about access to finance, of course – support networks can be just as important, and Sheffield excels here too. UP Sheffield organises socialising, networking and skill-building events for entrepreneurs and SMEs, as does the city’s Meetup group and Sheffield Digital. Meanwhile, the University of Sheffield runs a regular start-up weekend and offers broader entrepreneurship support.
Connecting to business outside of the city isn’t a problem either. Sheffield’s central location in the heart of England makes it easy for contacts and clients to visit. It’s two hours from London, an hour from Manchester, and close to the international Robin Hood Airport. With average broadband speeds of 18.36 MB/s, you’re unlikely to struggle to access even wider markets.