Set up new tech and smart cities premises

Incubators and accelerators


Incubators are business growth programmes which provide physical space for startups, with shared facilities and business support services. There are around 400 incubator programmes currently operating in the UK.

Most incubators will charge your company fees or rent, but this is often subsidised by a university of public funding.

Around one third of UK incubators have a focus on digital, including fintech.


Accelerators will typically offer your company services through an intensive programme, of 3-12 months. There are currently around 300 programmes operating in the UK.

Accelerators tend to be more growth-driven than incubators, as they often offer direct funding in return for equity (typically less than 10%). They’re more appropriate if you’re a startup looking to scale rapidly.

London is an important centre for tech-related accelerator and incubator programmes. Outside of the UK capital, the major accelerator clusters are:

  • the Midlands Engine region of England including Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham and Peterborough
  • major cities in Northern England such as Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle
  • around the M4 motorway connecting London with Reading, Oxford, Bristol, Bath and Cardiff
  • concentrations across key cities in Scotland and Northern Ireland such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast

Read more about incubators and accelerators on GOV.UK

Find out more about collaboration opportunities and spaces for innovative UK companies in our [guide to research and collaboration in the UK]

Find private office space

The UK has a competitive market of specialised serviced office companies, professional services companies and virtual office providers, all ensuring costs for are kept low for clients.

Virtual offices allow companies to meet any legal obligation to have a registered address in the UK, without paying for a physical office.

You can compare prices for office or other space on commercial property search engines, such as Estates Gazette and office advisory services like Instant Offices or Flexi Offices.

Networking for partners and clients

There are many UK events at which you can find clients and partners. These include:


The UK has set out its plan for future digital regulation on GOV.UK

You can find more information on the various categories of existing and future digital regulation on TechUK's digital regulation hub.

Next steps

Get advice on setting up your tech business from UK experts – find their contact details on the Investment Support Directory.

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