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Best Place to Start a Business in London

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Where to start a business in London?

A big decision which, with all the other huge decisions business owners need to make, can often slip down the priority list.

An office is an office, right? Not in our book. A good location can have a major impact down the line; attracting the staff, keeping office rent affordable, convenience for travel and even to simple pleasures like that after work drink.

With all the thousands of other elements going into starting a business, it is no wonder the decision does not seem like an immediate priority. As an IT support company based in London, meeting many SME’s around the capital, we feel well placed to recommend.

Of course, where you set up will be majorly impacted by your industry, which is why we’ve kept our list generic; offering advice and the key stats (based on research conducted by Startups) on the common considerations of entrepreneurs.

Tech City

Tech City, a thriving hub in and around Shoreditch, is the central point for digital start-ups in the UK. The area was originally an initiative led by government in 2010 to put Britain’s tech start-ups on the map.

This area has come from nowhere over the last decade with only around 15 tech start-ups in 2008. Now? Well, there is believed to be over a thousand emerging and established businesses including Songkick, Mixcloud, Huddle, Transferwise, Duedil, MarketInvoice, Mind Candy, and even Candy Crush creators King.

Number of new start-ups (2014): 6,960
Number of new start-ups per sq km: 210
Average full-time weekly earnings (2015): £637.10
Start-Up Survival rates (2009-2014): 41.75%
Average broadband speed (2014): 23.6mbps

South London

One of the biggest appeals of South London is the competitive office rental costs and the business support offered. Perhaps surprisingly, Croydon is the capital’s fastest growing tech cluster with 23% growth in new tech and digital companies since 2011; higher than the London average (17.1%) and the UK as a whole (11.3%).

The reason for this shift is a range of support initiatives, one of which being ‘free for a year campaign’ which offers Grade A office stock with free business rates for the first year to any tech and digital start-ups which move to the borough.

Number of new start-ups (2014): 12,685
Number of new start-ups per sq km: 43
Average full-time weekly earnings (2015): £639.50
Survival rates (2009-2014): 40.25%
Average broadband speed (2014): 27.7mbps

Central London

Central London has a reputation for being the home of established organisations, but this is shifting as it becomes more and more popular with start-ups. The arrival of Crossrail in 2017 is estimated to bring millions more visitors and workers to the area; so this shift is only likely to continue.

Central London has the largest percentage of working age population with degrees; with a vast 60.7% of the population having NVQ Level 4 qualifications or above – so you certainly shouldn’t be short of skilled employees.

Number of new start-ups (2014): 29,125
Number of new start-ups per sq km: 168
Average full-time weekly earnings: £690.81
Survival rates (2009-2014): 37.6%
Average broadband speed (2014): 27.0mbps

The City of London

The square mile that makes up The City has created a reputation as the financial capital of the world; clearly not a bad place to set up. Finance is this areas bread and butter, with over 500 banking, financial and insurance institutions including Ernst and Young, Lloyds, BT and Aviva.

Aside from the big guys, the city has become the place for fintech start-ups. Over the last 20 years 50% of the local area has been redeveloped to cater for the 300,000 workers and tourists that commute to the City on a daily basis.

Number of new start-ups (2014): 2,610
Number of new start-ups per sq km: 898
Average full-time weekly earnings (2015): £864.70
Survival rates (2009-2014): 36%
Average broadband speed (2014): 35mbps

East London

The iconic Olympic park has certainly brought with it more than glorious memories of the summer of 2012, but a more tangible legacy – particularly for start-ups. Perhaps one more for the close future with a one-billion-pound investment intended to turn the area into the centre of creative and digital businesses. A new one million square foot infrastructure is to be formed, which will be home to global companies such as BT Sport.

Number of new start-ups (2014): 2,610
Number of new start-ups per sq km: 898
Average full-time weekly earnings (2015): £864.70
Survival rates (2009-2014): 36%
Average broadband speed (2014): 35mbps

West London

Richmond is perhaps the biggest contributor to enterprise in West London with established firms such as Kodak, Ladbrokes, eBay, PayPal and the Securitas Group. Pleasant surroundings, yet within striking distance of central London makes it an attractive proposition.

West London’s location is what makes this area so appealing to start-ups; where getting around and jumping from meeting to meeting is the norm. Within close proximity to Heathrow Airport and the vast number of bus, overground and underground links in each borough, including access to the DLR and District and Piccadilly lines, Metro Line, and Great Western Line.

Number of new start-ups (2014): 15,735
Average full-time weekly earnings (2015): £622.37
Number of new start-ups per sq km: 41
Survival rates (2009-2014): 40.8%
Average broadband speed (2014): 24.7mbps

To provide more of a snap shot, review this handy graphic, put together by Startups:

Start-up graphic


Debbie Abbott

With a background in Marketing and Media, Debbie manages our digital marketing initiatives and provides valuable blog content for those of us a little less-technical.

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