Where in the world are the best start-up cities?

27 Oct 2016

Earth. Image: Sanit Fuangnakhon/Shutterstock

There are an awful lot of initiatives in major cities around the world to help foster new businesses, with technology start-ups the latest holy grail. But where does it best?

Ireland’s start-up community was sorely let down by Budget 2017 on capital gains tax, according to our very own John Kennedy. The integrity of the sector, he recently wrote, will be proven by its ability to get back up and try again harder.

However, it’s not just integrity that economies must represent and subsequently capitalise on. There are other variables to take into consideration, such as timing, geography, access to skills and finance, and many more.

startup cities

On the cost front, Knight Frank recently examined the start-up costs of leasing and fitting out 600 sq ft of office space in the tech and creative districts of the world’s leading cities.

The report found that intense demand for space in Shoreditch, London has seen start-up costs soar, costing $66,706 per location, per year. This figure was the highest of any creative district in the world.

Brooklyn in New York ($62,736), Mid-Market in San Francisco ($61,680), the first, second and ninth arrondissements in Paris ($57,426) and the Seaport District in Boston ($50,700) were cheaper yet still very, very expensive.

Emerging tech and digital districts – such as Silicon Docks in Dublin and The Domain in Austin – offer lower start-up costs at $47,345 and $35,280, respectively, positioning them as appealing propositions for the plethora of start-ups encouraged from all angles to get their respective shows on the road.

Brexit should, in theory, add to Dublin’s appeal while also benefitting Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and other European cities. Though that may not prove true.

“The UK is historically a mercantile nation built on trade,” wrote Kennedy. “When it ‘Brexits’, it will have carte blanche to build itself up as the Silicon Valley of Europe.

“It could offer more imaginative and advantageous taxes for entrepreneurs, and corporation tax too; a sucker punch to Ireland’s gut if we don’t keep up.”

Any doubts about the UK’s ongoing viability may be silenced by news today (27 October) that Nissan is backing Sunderland big time in years to come.

In North America, too, options for start-ups are numerous and the choice is a difficult one. With that, Towergate Insurance recently created an infographic to look at some of the major players in this regard.

Highlighting the number of registered start-ups and the general incentives provided, as well as things like corporation taxation, office space availability and even the flagship start-ups located in each city, it makes for interesting reading.

Berlin and Singapore look the obvious picks.

startup cities in the world

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic