Make Bath your business.

Seems our World Heritage city would be a good choice for anyone considering moving here to launch a new business enterprise.

According to research – carried out by University of Bath students – not only would your enterprise have a high chance of survival thanks to a supportive start-up environment, but you would also enjoy a high quality of life.

Two teams of University of Bath MBA students have worked with local initiative Bath Unlimited to support it in developing its strategy. 

Bath Unlimited launched earlier in 2020 to support the economic development and confidence of the city on the back of the Covid crisis through drawing attention to the many very successful and exciting businesses located in Bath, and to highlight the innovation and enterprise that takes place in the city. 

University of Bath students recently carried out two research projects as a part of their MBA (Masters of Business Administration) studies – the first group benchmarked the City of Bath against other similar cities around Britain, and the second looked at the relevant strength of different business sector clusters in the City. 

The first group found that when compared with other cities, Bath excels in terms of the quality of life it offers residents – in fact, the city has been placed as second in the country for quality of life measures. Bath is also extremely successful in incubating startup businesses and has one of the highest rates of young business survival success. 

Kevin Peake, of Royds Withy King, who leads on the development of Bath Unlimited, said: “This project has highlighted two really important features of Bath that make the city unique – essentially that you can move to Bath to start a company and not only has that company got a high chance of survival thanks to the supportive startup environment, but you will also enjoy a high quality of life. We’ll take these forward into our future development work, with the aim of better highlighting the opportunities in Bath for innovation and startup businesses.” 

The second group focused on the various business sectors in the city and drew attention to a few that don’t often get discussed. They highlighted the value of the digital and technology sector, which is well known in the city, but also of the financial sector and Bath’s unsung defence sector. 

Shannon D’Arcy of Invest in Bath was also at the students’ presentations. She said: “I was excited to learn quite how much the financial sector contributes to Bath, and that we have 66 accountancy companies located here in the city which can play a major role in attracting new businesses through their networks. This is definitely a sector we’d like to do more work to highlight – it offers significant economic impact both in terms of growth in the city and employment.” 

The students presenting the work all came from outside of Bath, and many from outside of the UK, meaning they took a fresh look at the city and shared some new perspectives that those living and working here for a long time could overlook. Students in one of the groups, from China, Thailand, Vietnam and India, said that if they had been more aware of the employment opportunities and impactful companies that existed in Bath then they would have looked to stay local after finishing their studies rather than moving to other cities in Britain. 

Kevin summarised by saying: “The work done by the MBA students has resulted in a number of recommendations as to how we can position our city moving forward, and the role that we can play in doing this through Bath Unlimited. We have a number of new ideas and initiatives which will help us achieve our goal of encouraging more people to start businesses and innovate here in Bath. 

“Working with the University of Bath and the MBA students on this project has highlighted how much can be achieved when organisations around the city work in close collaboration – we have some fantastic resources in the city and through working together to utilise these we can achieve a great deal more than we could alone.” 

Applications are open until 8th January for the University of Bath School of Management’s part-time Executive MBA programme, designed for working professionals looking to deepen their management expertise. There are scholarships available for the University’s Executive MBA and Fulltime MBA programmes.