Bristol is a fantastic place to start a business. But what is it about this city that makes it such a great choice for entrepreneurs? Named the best place for starting a business in the Start-up Cities Index in 2017 as well as one of the top five cities in the UK for startups in 2019, Bristol is a city that has it all. Here we take a look at why you should choose Bristol as the base for your new business venture.
Superb Support for Businesses
First of all, you’ll find that Bristol has a lot of support for businesses. As you launch your business and start to grow, this is really important. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely path, and a strong support network is vital.
You’ll find plenty of opportunities to connect with advisors, investors and collaborators in Bristol. There is no shortage of support in the form of business incubators and organisations with the primary goal of helping entrepreneurs and businesses grow and succeed by offering support, collaboration and funding.
To take one example, The Engine Shed is a collaboration between Bristol City Council, the University of Bristol and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and a home for businesses, academics and business incubators like the SETsquared Partnership who offer mentorship, support and training.
Below are just a handful of Bristol organisations that provide support in the form of meetups, networking events, advice and training include:
For coronavirus support, you’ll find that lots of help and support is being provided to businesses in the area. This page at Visit Bristol provides an extensive list of resources, and you’ll also find some useful links on the Bristol City Council website.
Grants and Funding
There are lots of opportunities for funding for businesses in Bristol. For example, the West of England Growth Hub provides grants to businesses in the area.
You’ll also find information at the West of England LEP website about several funding programmes including the Economic Development Fund and the Local Growth Fund. Find out what is available for your business in Bristol and take advantage of any opportunities for funding.
Find the Talent You Need
There is no lack of talent in Bristol because it has two world-class universities: the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol. These highly respected and research-led universities regularly collaborate with local businesses and have various placement schemes for graduates. There’s a big local talent pool so you’ll find no shortage of people to work for you as your business grows.
Bristol has long had a reputation for technological innovation, and this is a city that has embraced technology. In 2017, the UK Smart Cities Index named Bristol as the UK’s leading smart city. Quite an accolade, when you think it’s up against London.
The city also has excellent broadband access. Superfast broadband is widely available, and the Gigabit Voucher Scheme provides vouchers to SMEs in the city to help them install faster broadband.
Bristol is a hugely important tech cluster, and many disruptive technology companies now call the city home.
Home to Lots of Startups
You won’t be alone when you launch a startup in Bristol because many other startups have made Bristol their base. Many of them are located in the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone where there are hundreds of businesses.
Startups like Ultraleap, YellowDog and Hubbub rub shoulders with exciting tech companies like Open Bionics, STMicroelectronics and Icera. Indeed, some of the most exciting startups in the UK are either already based in Bristol or choosing to move their operations here.
Great Transport Infrastructure
Bristol is in a great location. It’s always been in a good strategic position, and its excellent transport links make it a great place for a business.
London may seem a long way away, but it’s just under two hours on the train. In fact, you can travel all over the UK from Bristol by taking a train from Bristol Temple Meads or Bristol Parkway. Bristol Airport also offers both domestic and international destinations.
The Royal Portbury Dock at nearby Avonmouth is one of the busiest ports in the UK, and Bristol is also well connected by road with easy access to the M4 and M5.
Travelling within the city is easy too. The important centres like the Temple Quay Enterprise Zone and Aztec West Business Park are linked by the excellent bus network, so getting around is no problem.
Good Quality of Life
All of the above are important factors for businesses – but so is the fact that Bristol is just a rather wonderful place to live. In fact, it was voted the best city in the UK to live in the Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide in 2017. It was also named the best place to live in the UK outside of London for people under 26 by BBC Newsbeat in 2019.
Located in the beautiful West Country, Bristol is just a short drive away from some of the UK’s most splendid countryside including spectacular coastlines and rolling hills. Without having to travel too far, you can find yourself in Somerset, Cornwall or even the Welsh valleys.
With excellent shopping, historic attractions like the Clifton Suspension Bridge, an amazing live music scene, a superb selection of restaurants, and cultural attractions like Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and Bristol Old Vic, Bristol’s got it all.
The city is also beautiful itself, and there are plenty of places to spend a sunny afternoon relaxing outdoors, like Avon Gorge, the Waterfront or Castle Park. All of this makes it a great place to live and work.
Choose Bristol for Your Business
As you can see, Bristol is an excellent place to launch a business or move your business to. While it’s a great place to live, it also has excellent business support, lots of exciting startups, great opportunities for collaboration, a huge talent pool and more. Choosing Bristol as your base could very well be the best thing you do for your business.