Sunderland in top five locations for new business

Sunderland Software Centre is now home to more than 20 businesses.
Sunderland Software Centre is now home to more than 20 businesses.
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Sunderland’s low-cost property market makes it one of the best places in the country to start a new business, says a new report.

The city took fifth spot in an analysis of all 69 cities in the UK, beating the likes of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Edinburgh as a place to set up.

Sunderland is a city with a lot going for it. In recent years, it has emerged as the North East’s definitive answer to Silicon Valley – with more than 220 software companies raking in some £65million every year.

James Howell

Start-up assistance organisation Quality Formations’ report was based on comparison of key issues, such as cost of commercial property, energy, virtual office services, public transport, broadband service, workforce demographics, access to finance and quality of life.

Researchers also looked at the availability of good office space and broadband speeds, then marked their findings out of 10 to draw up the national league table.

Sunderland achieved its high ranking largely due to its affordability compared to other more expensive cities, which has helped attract technology firms to Sunderland, turning the city into a major digital hub.

Researchers found office space in Sunderland averages £12 per square foot, while value for money virtual office services cost about £85 a month. Housing costs were also favourable, at an average of £474 a month for a typical two-bedroom home.

Quality Formations spokesman James Howell said: “Sunderland is a city with a lot going for it.

“In recent years, it has emerged as the North East’s definitive answer to Silicon Valley – with more than 220 software companies raking in some £65million every year.

“Working closely with the region’s five universities, tech start ups are now flocking to Sunderland in order to take advantage of the city’s new, co-working environment – and with good reason.

“Between the council’s Evolve centre, the University’s Software Hatchery and the North East Bic, Sunderland provides tech companies with an unparalleled level of support and low-cost facilities.”

The report comes after news the numbers of firms using Sunderland Software Centre jumped by almost a third in the past year.