Belfast ranks in last place in a list of the most entrepreneurial UK cities, according to a new report.
The Centre for Cities study showed only 21.7 businesses were started in the city per 10,000 people in 2012, a figure which puts it last in a ranking of 64 UK cities. That compares to over 75 business start-ups for London which ranks in first place and 57.1 for second place Aberdeen, according to the Cities Outlook 2014. The national average is 42.3.
The think-tank said more needs to be done to address the disparity between the best and worst performing cities in the UK.
"Many cities lag behind the national average on a range of indicators," the report said. "The focus of the next government, whichever political colour (or mix of colours) it may be, should be to increase the contribution that cities make to UK economic prosperity.
"It should do this by giving cities greater control over decisions affecting their economy, greater freedoms to tax, borrow and invest, and greater flexibility to tailor national policies to address the specific individual challenges that they face."
When it comes to innovation, there's little more to cheer about with Belfast ranking 61st in a list of patents granted per 100,000 population.
And unsurprisingly, there were only five UK cities with a higher claimant count in November 2013 than Belfast's 5.1%.
The Centre for Cities is aimed at finding out how and why economic growth and change takes place in the UK.
When referring to Belfast, it defined the city as the aggregate of Belfast City, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and North Down.
"I want cities to continue challenging themselves and Whitehall by coming up with ambitious and innovative proposals to help support jobs and growth," Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said.
"It continues to be an exciting time for cities and I welcome the contribution that the Centre for Cities is making to the debate."
START-UPS PER 10,000 POPULATION
5 cities with the highest start-up rate
1 – London 75.5
2 – Aberdeen 57.1
3 – Brighton 54.5
4 – Milton Keynes 54.5
5 – Reading 51.9
4 cities with the lowest start-up rate
61 – Mansfield 24.7
62 – Stoke 24.5
63 – Sunderland 22.5
64 – Belfast 21.7
The UK average was 42.3