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MOST INNOVATIVE CITIES: Where does Leeds rank?


A new study by Paymentsense has revealed the top 20 most innovative cities across the UK - and Leeds ranks in fifth place.

Paymentsense has created a nationwide ‘innovation index’ analysing over 60 UK cities. The study scored each location on the following factors that contribute to an innovation:

📈   Business startups -  Number of patent applications and new business registrations

💼  Qualified workforce - Percentage of the working age population with NVQ4 and above education

🧠   Profession knowledge - Percentage of private knowledge intensive business services jobs

🖥   Entrepreneurialism  - Google search volumes and trends for ‘how to start a business’

Leeds ranks fifth place on the index with an innovation score of 77.8 out of 100. As well as being rich in culture and history, Leeds also ranks highly for its business innovation attracting new talent and businesses to the North.

With 53 new business start-ups per 10,000 people, the professional landscape in Leeds has continued to grow in recent years. With an advancement in job roles and opportunities, this also means the city has a lot to offer. 40.1% of workers are qualified with an NVQ4 or above in Leeds and the city is producing sheer talent and expertise from its multiple Universities and Colleges. The city is also home to The Leeds Innovation District which is a partnership joining the Leeds NHS Trust, University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds College of Art and Leeds City Council to develop a modern science and innovation park in the centre of Leeds.

Entrepreneurial spirit is also high in Leeds with 1,970 monthly searches for ‘how to start a business’ by residents each month. This is also reflected by the number of kickstarters, with over 787 ideas registered with an average of £3,688 pledged for each. This is not new news for Leeds, as the city has a history of innovation to its name. The science that led to the discovery of DNA began in Leeds, as well as the extremely successful gaming franchise, Grand Theft Auto. From Leeds-born Olympians making history in their sports, to world famous musicians making huge strides in their genres, Leeds has been innovative in both the sciences and arts for a long time.

Leeds innovators of note:

  • Nicola Adams, the first woman to win a boxing title at the Olympics

  • John Waddington, founder of Waddington’s, the game company that brought us Monopoly and Cluedo

  • James Henry Atkinson, inventor of the Little Nipper mouse trap

  • Elsie Reed, CEO of social enterprise group, The Tech Ladder

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