The best location to be self-employed

The best cities in the UK to be self-employedIn the wake of the pandemic, more people are considering starting their own businesses we conducted research to find the best location to be self employed from.

The number of people searching ‘how to start a business with no money’ has more than doubled to 10,000 searches every month since March 2020, according to Google Search data.

Due to the number of people interested in self-employment in the UK and around the world, we thought it would be worthwhile to know where the best places for self-employment are.

On LinkedIn, we examined the number of people who have the job title of ‘founder’ and ‘owner’ and compared it to the overall number of people using the social media platform.

What makes a good place to Self Employed?

When it comes to being self employed, there are many factors to consider. Location is one of the most important factors, as it can impact everything from your costs to your customer base. Other important factors include the availability of resources, the local business climate, and the overall competitiveness of the market. In general, the best place to start a small business is an area with strong economic growth and a favourable business climate.


This will give you the best chance to succeed. Additionally, you should make sure that you have the resources you need to get your business up and running. This includes access to capital, a skilled workforce, and good infrastructure. Finally, you should also make sure that there is enough demand in the market for your product or service. If there is too much competition, it will be difficult to get your business off the ground.

However, if there is too little demand, you may struggle to find customers. The bottom line is that starting a business is a complex decision with many factors to consider. By taking all of these factors into account, you can increase your chances of success.

Every organisation has a different role or criteria with a number of factors taking precedent, but this list should give you a good place to start.


Business landscape

Business survival rates, entrepreneurship

Access to talent

Nearby universities and skilled workforce, qualified at NVQ Level 4 and above

Quality of life

Average full-time monthly earnings, cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment

Growth and development

Population, number of working adults


Transport links, internet speed, available business premises

Funding and support

Grants, business networks and centres

Future development

Infrastructure pipeline

The UK business profile at a glance

  • The UK is the sixth-largest national economy in the world according to the World Economic League Table for 2022.
  • Has a large transport and air networks ensure connectivity across the country.
  • The UK is renowned for hosting several of the world’s top universities and a world-class education system.
  • Extensive access to smart technologies are increasingly integrated across its major cities with digital broadband and telecoms markets.
  • The foreign direct investment (FDI) in the UK is one of the largest in Europe.

Here’s what we found:

Over 7% (7.84%) of the working population in Bath is self-employed, more than any other city in the United Kingdom.

Brighton & Hove follows closely with 7.73 percent. The top five cities with the highest percentage of business owners also include St Albans (7.31%), Worcester (6.37%) and London (6.35%).

The three least entrepreneurial cities in the UK are Aberdeen (3.23%), Coventry (3.31%) and Liverpool (3.59%)

The best cities in the UK to be self-employed:

  1. Bath – 7.84%
  2. Brighton & Hove – 7.73%
  3. St Albans – 7.31%
  4. Worcester – 6.37%
  5. London – 6.35%
  6. Chester – 6.3%
  7. Cambridge – 5.89%
  8. Edinburgh – 5.74%
  9. York – 5.7%
  10. Oxford – 5.49%
  11. Bristol – 5.48%
  12. Chelmsford 5.12%
  13. Norwich – 5.12%
  14. Exeter – 5.03%
  15. Portsmouth – 4.95%
  16. Plymouth – 4.90%
  17. Peterborough – 4.71%
  18. Cardiff – 4.59%
  19. Lincoln – 4.56%
  20. Manchester – 4.53%

One out of ten people in the Netherlands own their own business, making it the best country in the world for starting a business.

It is estimated that just under 9% of Costa Ricans own their own businesses. Haiti (7.61%), Denmark (7.27%) and the United States (7.03%) also rank among the top five.

The top countries in the world to be self-employed:

  1. Netherlands – 10.86%
  2. Costa Rica – 8.97%
  3. Haiti – 7.61%
  4. Denmark – 7.27%
  5. USA – 7.03%
  6. Estonia – 6.95%
  7. Israel – 6.69%
  8. New Zealand – 6.59%
  9. Poland – 6.45%
  10. Finland – 6.43%
  11. Greece – 6.20%
  12. Sweden – 6.14%
  13. Canada – 5.74%
  14. Ireland – 5.59%
  15. Lebanon – 5.54%
  16. Croatia – 5.36%
  17. Bulgaria- 5.08%
  18. Switzerland – 5.08%
  19. Australia – 5.08%
  20. Iceland – 5%

Our findings

Data was gathered from Google Search by analysing a number of the most searched for questions by those wanting to start a business using Glimpse.

According to our research, the best places to be self-employed are cities and countries around the world with the highest number of self-employed people.

To calculate the percentage of workers who run their own business, we compared this with the number of people with the job title ‘founder’ or ‘owner’ in each location.


The list of the top 20 cities in England, Scotland and Wales was collated with the highest population, using the Office for National Statistics (ONS) population estimates. The above sources was then used to gather the data.

Each city was given a score between 1 and 20 for each of the variables, from there we looked at (1 being the best and 20 being the worst). The totals for each city were then calculated and ranked in order to come up with the top 20 cities to be self employed in.

Business Finance specialist at Invoice funding | + posts

Seasoned professional with a strong passion for the world of business finance. With over twenty years of dedicated experience in the field, my journey into the world of business finance began with a relentless curiosity for understanding the intricate workings of financial systems.

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