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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Birmingham is UK's top city for small firms

10 April 2019

Red double-decker bus at the street of Birmingham, UKThe latest Small Business Index has identified the best European cities for enterprise based on SME population, business support and the affordability of premises.

Birmingham tops the poll in the UK, closely followed by Glasgow. These cities outperform London thanks to the availability of rent and retail space at a reasonable price.

The Small Business Index 2019 has been compiled by mobile payments platform SumUp. The study has found that high levels of external support and investment for small enterprises do not offset the cost of rising rent and real estate across Europe's major cities.

The Index has analysed the 100 most populous cities across Europe and ranked them according to four criteria: the amount and type of small businesses, SME density, real estate factors and the availability of external support.

Valencia and Madrid come in first and second place within Europe, followed by Vienna, Berlin, Barcelona and Warsaw. Nine cities in Germany are in the top thirty places in the ranking.

In the UK, Birmingham is at number one (and number ten in Europe) with its comparatively cheap rents and high levels of business investment while Glasgow is second in the UK thanks to the availability of rental spaces. Other UK cities ranked highly are: London, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, Leicester, Bristol and Cardiff.

The key findings of the report include:

  • In the UK, Cardiff and Edinburgh have the highest density of small businesses;
  • London scores full marks for business support, with Manchester and Birmingham following closely behind;
  • Manchester has a high number of small businesses, particularly cafes and bars, despite a low availability of rental space and relatively high prices;
  • Overall, the availability and price of rent and real estate is consistently poor across the UK, with Birmingham and Glasgow the only exceptions.

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