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The UK’s best cities for co-working

Starting a business can be tricky - and finding office space is one of the biggest concerns early on. Co-working spaces can offer a cost-effective way to start your business and launch it to global success like co-working alumni Uber and Instagram.

The idea for Instagram was hatched in a US co-working space feeding off the creative and collaborative environment; within eighteen months Facebook had bought the iconic photo sharing app for $1 billion in cash and stock. Similarly, the co-founders of Uber devised the idea for the taxi app in a co-working office in San Francisco as a way to solve the issues they had with cabs in the city. The app is now a worldwide success, available in over 300 cities across the globe.

But when searching for co-working space in the UK, which cities offer the best options? We’ve ranked the best cities for co-working spaces including factors such as rental cost, availability, security and the cost of business insurance. See the full list below.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

New businesses in Edinburgh have access to the Small Business Loan Fund managed by the council, which offers an interest free loan of up to £2,500. The East of Scotland Investment Fund also offers a match-funded loan of up to £50,000 for viable commercial businesses.

Monitor

£300

Average workstation rate

Insurance

£321

Cost of business insurance

Co-working

53

Number of co-working spaces

Rocket

20,260

Number of start-ups

Leeds

Leeds

The Business Growth Programme offers grants up to £50,000 to businesses within in and coming to Leeds. The £35 million Growing Places Fund also has a number of loans available of up to £1 million, provided that the applicants find £3 of private funding for each £1 of the loan.

Monitor

£264

Average workstation rate

Insurance

£328

Cost of business insurance

Co-working

61

Number of co-working spaces

Rocket

28,905

Number of start-ups

Bristol

Bristol

Bristol start-ups have access to a number of funding options, including the West of England Growth Fund which offers larger investments from a pool of £25 million for up to £1 million, and loans available from a wide range of loan funds with a number of attractive interest rates. 

Monitor

£266

Average workstation rate

Insurance

£260

Cost of business insurance

Co-working

47

Number of co-working spaces

Rocket

19,225

Number of start-ups

Northampton

Northampton

Northampton has access to the SEMLP Growth Hub the Northamptonshire Growth Hub, which offers advice and an extended reach in terms of seeking out worthwhile finance options.

Monitor

£251

Average workstation rate

Insurance

£217

Cost of business insurance

Co-working

16

Number of co-working spaces

Rocket

10,180

Number of start-ups

Nottingham

Nottingham

The region offers support up to £2 million for job-creating projects. There’s also the Creative Quarter, which offers grants and funding for tech and life science businesses, including a loan between £500 and £25,000 at a 6% interest rate over five years to startups in the area.

Monitor

£218

Average workstation rate

Insurance

£249

Cost of business insurance

Co-working

33

Number of co-working spaces

Rocket

9,485

Number of start-ups

Birmingham

Birmingham

The city council offers finance up to £1 million for equity investments and regional debt, with funds and initiatives for small and medium-sized companies. There are also grants available up to £50,000.

Monitor

£252

Average workstation rate

Insurance

£232

Cost of business insurance

Co-working

59

Number of co-working spaces

Rocket

37,200

Number of start-ups

Glasgow

Glasgow

For small companies, the West of Scotland Loan Fund offers gap funding of up to £30,000. Larger business are able to receive gap loans of up to £50,000, but no more than 50% of the total funding requirement.

Monitor

£238

Average workstation rate

Insurance

£334

Cost of business insurance

Co-working

44

Number of co-working spaces

Rocket

20,235

Number of start-ups

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

The Support for Aberdeenshire Business (SAB) scheme offers both grant and loan funding for businesses set up to bring value to the region’s economy.

Monitor

£405

Average workstation rate

Insurance

£254

Cost of business insurance

Co-working

21

Number of co-working spaces

Rocket

10,230

Number of start-ups

Belfast

Belfast

Start-ups prior to commercial development are able to gain finance from the Invest Growth Proof of Concept Fund, a grant award fund. Various seed-stage funding is also available via techstarter NI, of up to £150,000 based on the project, and angel investment options are available through a local network named HALO.

Monitor

£282

Average workstation rate

Insurance

£369

Cost of business insurance

Co-working

22

Number of co-working spaces

Rocket

10,590

Number of start-ups

Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes’ grants and fundraising are limited compared to other cities, with none specific to the city. However, the proximity to London means there are some opportunities in the capital which could also apply to the Milton Keynes area.

Monitor

£260

Average workstation rate

Insurance

£270

Cost of business insurance

Co-working

26

Number of co-working spaces

Rocket

12,975

Number of start-ups

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Methodology

Cities have been selected from the list researched by the Instant Group for their 206 Flexible Workspace Review.

Each metric was assigned a score out of 10 for each city, and each of these scores was then combined for each location to create a weighted average. This was then used to rank the cities. 

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