The East Anglian university city of Cambridge has been identified as Europe’s most enterprising city. However, a look beyond its university, museums and entrepreneurial zeal, reveals that Cambridge is not all bulging balance sheets and cutting edge achievements. It is a city of high inequality.
The new Enterprising Cities Index, created by digital payments specialist Takepayments.com, ranks European cities based on a range of factors relating to enterprise, opportunity and growth. The research reveals Europe’s most enterprising cities by calculating a city score which is based on the following five factors:
- the number of start-up procedures required to start a business
- the number of days required to start a business
- the number of new businesses registered (all of which are taken from data from the United Nations and The World Bank)
- the percentage growth in interest in starting a business (using data supplied by Google)
- the 2022 Economic Freedom Index score at a national level, from Heritage
The top three enterprising cities in Europe:
Cambridge, UK (Score = 3.18)
Tallinn, Estonia (Score = 3.11)
Warsaw, Poland (Score = 2.99)
Cambridge was awarded high scores across all five categories. The city saw a 40% increase in the number of people searching for advice on how to start a business over the past year, the second highest increase on the list behind Warsaw which had a 75% increase. Tallinn, in second place, is known for its innovation, as one of the most digitally advanced cities in the world.
The Cambridge paradox exists in the fact that despite its entrepreneurial strengths with all its businesses and academic activity, Cambridge remains one of the most unequal cities in England.
In 2020, Cambridge was officially the UK’s most unequal city: the top 6% of earners who live there take home 19% of the total income generated, while the bottom 20% of the population account for just 2% of that earnings total. The recent cost of living crisis has only added to these issues.
If the politically expedient concepts on the right of trickle down economics and austerity are to be believed, then the Cambridge Paradox would not exist. The wealth of the city that helped to produce the first jet engine, developed British home computing in the 1980s with Acorn and Sinclair, and has since led the way in genetic research, would have been widely distributed across the population; the city which fostered successful business and entrepreneurship would not also be a place where you would find queues at food banks and high levels of deprivation.
Yet the paradox exists and grows, awaiting someone, somewhere, perhaps a student or fellow in the vast halls of a college in a great university, to ponder and propose a viable economic solution.