Mansfield and Wolverhampton named Britain’s most entrepreneurial areas

An annual survey of small businesses revealed that Mansfield and Wolverhampton were voted Britain’s most innovative town and city.


The Midlands saw more small business start-ups per head than anywhere else last year.


Superscript, a SME insurance provider, used ONS data for comparison of the total number small businesses (with 0-49 workers) per unitary authority in 2021 and the same figure for 2022.


This data was combined with national population data to create a score for’small businesses per capita’.


Wolverhampton won the race with a score 0.48. Other cities like Worcester and Carlisle were close behind with 0.20 and 0.19.


Towns that see significant growth are the most popular, with Mansfield scoring 0.38. Blackburn with Darwen scored 0.30, and Luton 0.22.


The increase in small businessesThe growth of the accommodation and food service industry, which grew by 4.9% (8,175 additional businesses), was the main driver.


Construction grew by 4.25 percent (15,270 additional businesses).


Superscript also conducted a survey with 1,000 small business owners. It found that 72 percent of them started their own businesses because they could earn more than their current job.


Cameron Shearer, co-founder and CEO, said: “It’s encouraging to see so many new entrepreneurial towns and cities make this year’s top 10, while cities like Carlisle and Cardiff consolidated last year’s positions to climb even higher.


“These places have bucked the national trend, with the macroeconomic challenges causing a drop of 83,000 small businesses nationwide.


“However, history teaches us that great ideas and innovations are born out of challenging times, with businesses evolving quickly.


“That is why flexibility and customisation have become the most important insurance requirements of small businesses coming to us for cover.”

The perfect spot to last-minute purchase


Jasmin, 41, and Phil Robson (47), run Hatch To Go Darlington, which was fourth in the top towns.


After adaptations to Hatch Luncheonette’s success in 2020 and 2021, when customers still wanted dined-in experiences during Covid, the idea was born.


After Jasmin noticed a need for customers to pop in and browse the store, she decided to open a to-go shop that sells retail and snacks.


Jasmin said: “We use a lot of local suppliers for our takeout shop and in our retail and gift area where we try and concentrate on sourcing independent brands to stock, often focusing on women owned or independent brands that can’t be found on big sites like Amazon.


“We grew up in Darlington and it is lovely to have a business that makes the place where we live better.


“We set the business up as a place we would like to go to as customers.”


Superscript’s data also revealed the key factors for entrepreneurs choosing a location for their business, with 15 per cent looking for good access to talent.


But for 14 per cent, it’s simply where the would-be business owners happen to already live.


Jackie Mulligan, founder ShopAppy – an online marketplace for local shops – a government task force expert on high street issues, stated that “The shift of our High Streets to more experiential places represents a positive opportunity in particular for hospitality businesses.”


“It is clear that the growth of businesses in these locations is also connected to positive efforts by local partners (councils and business improvement districts), strong, supportive communities and effective business networks – all key for entrepreneurs in this challenging climate for local economies.”

These are the top UK towns and cities for small businesses


Cities/Small businesses per capita score

  1. Wolverhampton/0.48
  2. Worcester/0.20
  3. Carlisle/0.19
  4. Hull/0.17
  5. Norwich/0.14
  6. Cardiff/0.12
  7. Stoke-on-Trent/0.12
  8. Sheffield/0.10
  9. Plymouth/0.10
  10. Southend/0.08


Score per capita for towns/small businesses

  1. Mansfield/0.38
  2. Blackburn w Darwen/0.30
  3. Luton/0.22
  4. Darlington/0.19
  5. Ipswich/0.19
  6. Stratford-Upon-Avon/0.19
  7. Maidstone/0.19
  8. Bridgend/0.17
  9. Maldon/0.13
  10. Scarborough/0.11

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