City praised for firms' healthy survival rates
Belfast has a high business survival rate as well as low costs despite the difficult economic climate, according to a leading bank.
The new Santander UK Town and City Index said that overall, Belfast emerges with a mid-table ranking, 43rd, for its favourable business conditions.
The research shows that the city's business community benefits from a lower than average "negative churn rate", so is losing fewer businesses than other towns and cities.
Additionally, its low costs associated with running firms can also help support creation and growth.
It was also said that Belfast's high five-year business survival rate means the city's established companies are more likely to develop stronger links with their stakeholders, such as their supply chain and finance providers.
The index is a study of the largest 74 urban areas in the UK as well as 32 London boroughs.
The study, which was conducted by Professor Francis Greene of Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham, measures five areas that are vital to business success in the UK's towns and cities – enterprise, talent, connectivity, costs and well-being.
On the downside, high levels of poor internet connectivity among consumers make it difficult for businesses to communicate effectively with their customer base and the report said that broadband speed is slower than average in Belfast.
Nationally, Cambridge emerged as the top town or city in the UK for its business competitiveness ahead of long-term academic rival, Oxford, with Edinburgh ranked third.
Peter Torrens, regional director for Santander Corporate & Commercial, said Belfast has many of the key ingredients that help to support its business community and they have an important role to play in its future success.
"Santander is passionate about working with British businesses to help them meet their aspirations," he said.
"Our focus is on the relationships we are able to build with our business customers.
"We hope this report will help us further develop our understanding of how a business's needs differ from region to region and how we can tailor our support accordingly."