Stoke-on-Trent has been named among the 15 best cities in the UK in which to start a business.
New research by card payment solutions provider Paymentsense has seen the Potteries come in sixth place – beating rivals Coventry, Manchester and Liverpool.
The survey looks at the most populated cities in the UK and takes into account factors including start-up survival rate, average weekly pay and the number of employed adults.
It named Sheffield as the best place for start-ups – where more than 44 per cent survive after five years – closely followed by Nottingham and Sunderland.
But it says Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramic heritage and canal network has contributed to a boost in tourism in the city – making it a desirable place to start a company.
A spokesman for Paymentsense said: “Starting a business can be an exciting endeavour, but getting through the first five years is challenging.
“The cost of rent, consumer demand, beating the competition, and keeping your cash flowing are often tricky things for SMEs to juggle.
“Based on factors including business survival rates, weekly salary, average rent, population, and the number of employed adults in the area, we have worked out which UK cities offer the best environment for prospective SMEs.”
The spokesman added: “Choosing your location is an important deciding factor in terms of how well your start-up will fare.
“It’s important to place your business somewhere there is a demand for your output, while still being a cost-effective place to work.”
According to the research, 39.3 per cent of start-up businesses in Stoke-on-Trent survive longer than five years, this compares to 37.5 per cent in Manchester and 38 per cent in Liverpool.
But the average weekly pay for full-time workers in the Potteries comes in at just £497.10 – making it one of the lowest paying cities in the list, only beating fourth-place Leicester, which has an average weekly pay of £487.90.
So why do businesses choose to set-up in Stoke-on-Trent?
Rob Horton launched building plastics company Horton Building Plastics,in Cobridge, in 2017. The firm has now expanded into Park Hall.
Rob said: “Where you start up can have a massive effect on whether your business fails or succeeds. For me, Stoke-on-Trent has always been about finding opportunities and harnessing local talent.
“The Potteries is an ideal and cost-effective place to run a business, and not only because we are situated between Manchester and Birmingham.”
Kim Mountford founded Newcastle-based architects MODE in 2017.
She said: “Stoke-on-Trent has a thriving business community that helps to nurture start-ups.
“There are a lot of networking events taking place on a weekly basis, providing valuable support.
“The business owners and fellow start-ups I’ve met are happy to help each other and are keen to pass business locally.
“As an architect, it also helps that Stoke-on-Trent has become a hot spot for property investors.
“It’s undergone considerable regeneration and improvement in recent years and investment in the area is set to continue, which has started to widen its appeal.
“MODE is a relatively new architectural practice, but I’ve found people are happy to break away from the traditional way of doing things and are keen to appoint ‘new blood’ who have fresh new ideas. Another big plus for Stoke-on-Trent.”