Urban Transformation

Thinking of launching a start-up? It's cheapest in these places

Traditional Incandescent light bulbs are seen at an apartment in Munich August 31, 2009.  "Incandescent bulbs will be phased out between September 2009 and September 2012," said a spokesman for the EU Presidency said in December 2008. European households could initially save up to 50 euros ($65) a year by switching to more efficient halogen, LED and fluorescent CFL lamps, with greater savings as costs for the more expensive but longer-lasting bulbs fall.  REUTERS/Michael Dalder   (GERMANY BUSINESS ENERGY ENVIRONMENT) - RTR27A61

Bright ideas need affordable office space to reach their potential Image: REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Alex Gray
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Costs for entrepreneurs wanting to launch a start-up are highest in London. That’s according to a new report by Knight Frank.

The UK real estate agent looked at the cost of leasing and fitting out 600 square feet (183 square metres) of office space in the tech and creative districts of the world’s leading cities. The size represents enough work space for a budding business of four employees, with a small conference room.

In London, this would cost US$66,706 per year – the highest of any creative district in the world. The second most expensive place to launch a start-up is Brooklyn, New York, at $62,736, followed by San Francisco at $61,680.

In fact, four of the top 10 most expensive cities are in the United States, with Boston in fifth place with $50,700 per 600sqft and Los Angeles in seventh with $47,124. In Europe, Paris and Dublin join London in the top 10 priciest locations, with Paris in fourth place at $57,426 and Dublin in sixth at $47,345.

The most expensive cities in Asia were Hong Kong in eighth place, where leasing 600sqft of space would cost $40,488; Beijing, in ninth, would involve an outlay of $39,090 and Singapore, in tenth, $39,088.

 Where startup costs are sky high
Image: Statista

Start-ups are a key part of the innovation economy in areas that are struggling with slow growth. While about two thirds of small businesses don't make it past 10 years, according to US figures, those that take off can change the way we live, from Uber to AirBnB.

Start-ups tend to gravitate to areas where other start-ups already exist, along with the venture capital firms that invest in them.

 Venture capital investment
Image: Martin Prosperity Institute

Affordable workspace

The authors of the report warn that, unless prices stabilize or decrease, there is a risk that some of the tech hubs will stop growing:

“London needs to be more affordable for tech firms if it wants a home-grown Google or Twitter.”

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Urban TransformationJobs and the Future of WorkBusiness
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