Cambridge is one of the UK's most supportive places for High Growth Small Businesses

Research just published reveals the best places in the UK to drive economic growth, as some of the fastest growing smaller companies prove that they can be a force for regional revival. Cambridge is ranked the tenth most High Growth Small Business (HGSB) friendly city in the league table – beating old rival Oxford which ranks as 16th.


The Octopus High Growth Small Business Urban Hub League Table identifies which towns and cities in the UK are best placed to support high growth small businesses (HGSBs) in 2016 and benefit from the local prosperity these businesses bring.

Last year, the Octopus High Growth Small Business Report 2015 highlighted the role HGSBs could play in driving regional growth, addressing the North-South divide and rebalancing the economy. Endorsed by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the report made the case for increasing the number of HGSBs by 25% in every region in the next five years, while showing that HGSBs have a disproportionate impact on weaker performing economies

In response to this, today’s research, produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), looks at which towns and cities across the UK are most HGSB friendly in 2016. The league table is based on what the teams behind HGSBs told us were most important to them when building and growing their companies - finance, talent and connectivity.

Key findings: Cambridge

  • Cambridge is home to 199 HGSBs and ranked the tenth most HGSB friendly city in the league table
  • Cambridge is first in the Demography and Skills pillar and third for Economic Growth but is brought down to tenth place by a lower ranking (30th) for Connectivity and Transport
  • Cambridge is in the top five when looking at the percentage of HGSBs in the community - 3.9% of businesses in Cambridge are HGSBs
  • 1 in 13 workers in Cambridge are employed by a HGSB  (defined as a company with more than 20% annual average growth in turnover over three years and a turnover of between £1 million and £20 million). 

Simon Rogerson, CEO of Octopus, said: “It is exciting to see that there are towns and cities right across the UK that have the potential to support the next generation of HGSBs and benefit from the HGSB effect. These businesses are vital to our economic prosperity and there is untapped opportunity in every corner of the UK.

“We need to ensure that the UK continues to create the best environment to support them. The Government has done a great job of supporting entrepreneurship in this country but more needs to be done for this tiny group of companies – HGSBs represent less than 1% of UK business – that are punching well above their weight.”

Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, said: "HGSBs are making a tremendous difference to our national and local economy. One out of every three new jobs in 2014 were created by some of the UK's most entrepreneurial and fast growing businesses, and it is brilliant to see that Cambridge is home to 199 of them as well as topping the index for both economic output and innovation, and scoring incredibly highly on other indicators in this new Urban Hub League Table from Octopus.

“But past success is no guarantee of future success. Cambridge needs powers to tackle the huge problems of housing, transport and skills and the Government needs to ensure Britain is a world leader in research and development rather than promote stop-start policies on capital funding for science and research. We all need to get behind these businesses which are vital to the local, national and international economy."

Other findings

  • The majority of our UK capital cities are hotspots for HGSBs
  • Three of the top five are capital cities: London takes the top spot confirming its role as a global hub of entrepreneurship, with Edinburgh and Cardiff at three and five, while Belfast ranks at 21
  •  Manchester and Liverpool both make it into the top ten of the league table with Leeds just outside at 11, all boosted by great transport links and connectivity, accessible location costs and strong job creation forecasts.
  • Hull, Middlesbrough, York and Newcastle all fall into the bottom ten of the table despite Newcastle being ranked in the top ten for economic growth.

About the Octopus High Growth Small Business Report 2015

The Octopus High Growth Small Business Report 2015 provides a unique insight into the economic value of Britain’s fastest growing smaller companies, along with their power to drive regional economic revival. These companies, defined in the report as high growth small businesses (HGSBs) with an annual turnover between £1 million and £20 million and with average annual growth greater than 20% over a three-year period, are making a significant contribution to economic growth across all regions of the UK and yet get overlooked all too often. The report seeks to raise awareness about the material impact they are having on employment growth and economic growth, and to ensure that government develops a supportive policy framework to ensure these companies can continue to thrive in the UK.

The report was commissioned by Octopus Investments and produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Surveys were conducted by ICM Unlimited

Join the conversation: #hgsbreport

For further information, visit


For media enquiries, please contact :
Georgina Turner/Sarah Whybrow, Octopus Investments
t: +44 (0)207 776 7968


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