Starting a Business in Cardiff


With an established business infrastructure and a ripe startup environment, Cardiff is a prime location for entrepreneurs to stake their claim. Find out about the Welsh capital’s wealth of resources that can help you start your own business in this guide.

Cardiff’s Deep and Competitive Talent Pool

Cardiff is home to 361,200 people, with 244,300 aged 16 to 64. About 69% of the population is of working age, while 48% are qualified to NVQ4+, which is significantly higher than the Wales average of 35.1% and the UK average of 38.4%

Cardiff owes much of its highly skilled workforce to its three universities: Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, and the University of South Wales. Around 70,000 students study in these three respected academic institutions. With each university closely tied to the city’s social, scientific, and economic sectors, local businesses enjoy a fruitful partnership with all three.

Labour costs are very competitive compared to the rest of the country. Graduate salaries average around £25,000, matching Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds. It is lower than Edinburgh (£27,0000), Glasgow (£28,000), and London (£32,500).

Annual office cost per person rests at £5,205, which is lower than Bristol’s (£5,800), Edinburgh’s (£6,365), Manchester’s (£6,870) and London’s (£14,540).

On a global scale, Cardiff ranked 36 out of 90 cities in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2018, making it the highest-ranking UK core city.

Property and Working Spaces

Renting a commercial property in Cardiff is affordable, amounting to about 40% to that of London’s commercial properties. City centre grade-A rents average about £25 per square feet.

Cardiff accommodates businesses of all sizes and specialisms with its reputable enterprise zones and cutting-edge co-working spaces:

  • Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone serves as a primary business district with its 140 acres of redeveloped land containing premium office space. It is easily accessible via the Cardiff Central train station.
  • Capital Quarter and Central Square are two of the biggest mixed-use developments in the city. They currently feature premier office spaces, with more buildings for businesses to follow.

Co-working spaces in Cardiff are becoming more popular, as networking and collaborating opportunities become even more integral to entrepreneurial success.

The Economic Development department of the Cardiff local government offers Workshop and Business starter units for startups and growing businesses looking for simple terms. If you need more public help in your search for the right working spaces, try Cardiff Council Property Search.

Incubators and Investors

Scaling a business might not be on the forefront of a startup entrepreneur’s mind, but it’s well worth considering options to do so if you have ambitions of gaining more than just a stable profit. Fortunately, tried-and-tested programmes to fast-track your business’ growth are available in Cardiff:

  • The NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator Hub offers two programmes—one for freshly formed businesses and the follow-up 6-month Acceleration programme with comprehensive training, mentoring, and community-involved collaboration. The best thing is that it is fully funded.
  • Barclays Eagle Lab in Cardiff has all the high-tech equipment and maker spaces for digital-focused startups looking to scale and partner with like-minded business owners. Superfast internet, 3D printers and VR rooms, coaching and connections from Barclays, and more make this the perfect incubator for the innovative.
  • Bioscience is also booming in Cardiff, and startups get all the support they need to enter the field with ACCELERATE. In collaboration with Welsh universities, Life Sciences Hub Wales helps bring new health care technologies to market.

While Cardiff, in particular, does not have direct public funding options readily available, you can still get financial aid from the Welsh government that covers businesses in the city. There are also angel investors that support promising ventures.

Through the Development Bank of Wales, the Wales Business Fund offers loans and equity packages from £50,000 to £2 million. Terms usually last for five to seven years, with the Fund providing follow-on investments and additional working capital to sustain your business’ growth.

For new businesses that focus on tech, the Development Bank of Wales also has the Wales Technology Seed Fund. Up to £250,000 can be granted per round to Welsh technology businesses that need the capital to achieve their ideas.

Lastly, the Development Bank of Wales has set up Angels Invest Wales, an £8 million co-investment fund that matches investors with businesses through an online platform.

Business Networks

Building professional relationships with colleagues and field experts opens up business opportunities you might not have if you do things alone. Cardiff has a host of organisations you can join when you start your business for tangible benefits:

  • With a global background and the support of Google, Startup Grind’s Cardiff chapter is a doorway to international insight on entrepreneurship with local wisdom and camaraderie. Attending their conferences and events is crucial to getting to know the right people in the city.
  • Creative Cardiff is the top community for creatives in business to sign up for. The community currently boasts of having 655 organisations and 2,424 individuals. Members share news regarding the creative industry, highlight movers and shakers, post jobs and events, and collaborate on exciting projects.
  • Arts and crafts makers with an entrepreneurial spirit should look to join The Makers Guild in Wales. The Cardiff-based guild runs educational workshops and exhibitions for their members, with the ultimate goal of promoting Welsh arts and crafts.
  • If you’re looking to have a grand opening for your business with an event, coordinate with Cardiff Convention Bureau.They provide complete assistance with running and marketing business events in the capital free of charge.
  • Expand your network, knowledge, and skillset yourself with the Business Wales Events Finder. With this tool, you can take matters into your own hands when searching for a specific business-related workshop or seminar.

If you need help setting up shop in Cardiff, give us a call at 0117 244 3585 and we’ll help you find affordable co-working spaces perfect for startups, entrepreneurs and craftspeople looking to establish their roots.

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