How mingling opportunities have made London the most startup-friendly global city

A new study from The Economist Intelligence Unit reveals informal networks are key to helping the British capital’s entrepreneurs flourish

How mingling opportunities have made London the most startup-friendly global city

Forgoing catching Zs for drinks with fellow entrepreneurs may not seem tempting after a long day at the office. But those informal networking events could be what helps your business form vital relationships and discover useful insights.

Having surveyed 1,000 entrepreneurs in ten global cities, The Economist Intelligence Unit, the researching unit of The Economist Group, found that 78% of budding business leaders believe that informal networks will be important or very important to their business over the next three years. The researchers looked at Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Ho Chi Minh City, Seoul, New York, San Francisco and London and discovered that the British capital was most conducive for networking.

Given that startup owners in the capital have plenty of chances to pick the brains of their peers and investors thanks to London’s lively events calendar, it’s hardly surprising that the report also ranked it as the number one city in the world to launch a startup. In fact, 35% of entrepreneurs found it easy or very easy to launch a startup in London and 55% stated that their network was paramount to finding support in the early days.

Another contributing factor was that the government has established a startup-friendly environment by launching investment schemes like Start Up Loans and other initiatives, which made 57% believe that the government is somewhat or very effective at supporting entrepreneurial activity in the city.

Alice Bentinck, a co-founder of Entrepreneur First, an accelerator, told the researchers: “There’s never been a better time to start a new business in this city. Over the last four or five years it has become very startup-friendly. I don’t know what ‘easier’ would look like.”

Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and San Francisco all came second in the rankings, with 33% of entrepreneurs in each city saying it was easy to launch a business. In contrast, Taipei was rated the worst place for entrepreneurs to launch a startup, with only 9% saying it was easy or very easy to do so.

This survey certainly gives some weight to the old adage that it’s not who you are but who you know and it should make you think twice before swapping cocktails with your entrepreneurial peers for a quiet night in.

Eric Johansson
Eric Johansson

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