THIS area has been named the best place in the country to start a new business.

Research by Barclays found the Bradford district to be the top location for people to launch small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and has the conditions to help businesses thrive.

In its newly-published SME Growth Factors Index, the bank used 12 ‘key’ measures and found that Bradford district took first place in four of the categories, making it top overall.

The district was first on the list for offering the best business rate relief, road infrastructure, number of job vacancies and value for money for renting commercial space.

Nick Garthwaite, president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said he was delighted with the findings.

“This is great news and reflects the hard work of organisations across the district which provide advice and guidance to those looking to start and grow businesses in the area,” he said.

“The council also has also played an important role providing business rates relief and listening to the business voice.

“Indeed, the chamber is currently working with the council on the production of the Inclusive Growth Strategy, which sets out ambitious plans to create the environment for even more businesses to locate, grow and scale up.”

Barclays collected data on growth factors such as broadband speed, the number of skilled workers and the proportion of businesses which survive past their first year.

In total, 16,800 companies have started in Bradford district since 2012.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport, welcomed the results.

He added: “This is great news and reflects the hard work the council has put into creating the right business environment.

“We will continue to support the area’s strong entrepreneurial culture and next year will launch new schemes to roll out enterprise support and rate relief across our district.”

While London, Birmingham and Leeds were named as the cities with the highest number of new start-ups during the past six years, they fell down the rankings to 12th, 11th and 18th place respectively.

Caroline Pullich, head of SME for Yorkshire at Barclays Business Banking, said: “It’s really encouraging to see that so many areas offering growth potential are outside of London and the south east, particularly with Bradford ranking as the top city across the UK.

“We undertook this study because we support small companies right across the country, and are keen to help more people start and grow businesses wherever opportunities exist.

“We’re committed to investing in Bradford district’s SMEs and entrepreneurs, evidenced through our recent Invest in Bradford business round-table events with local key business people.

“Entrepreneurs do need to consider the market for their particular company but an environment that supports growth can make a real difference.”