London has always led the way in the UK business scene; it is home to one of the most important financial centres in the world and makes for a global powerhouse upon the world’s business scene.
Yet despite the capital’s impressive standing it seems that attention may well be shifting, and as we shall see in this article, the sheer number of entrepreneurs opting for to move out of the city centre and into the south west, is quite simply staggering.
To highlight this there is the example of Waltham Forest, where there has been a dramatic jump of 12.59% in the number of businesses registered between 2015 and 2016, with the south west Region as a whole outperforming the national average with a 9.27% rise, equating to a grand total of 213,773 fledging businesses registered.
With this in mind here we take a look at just what the south west is offering that seems to be so alluring to start-up businesses.
SW incubators are leading the way for business growth
In recent years start-up businesses have been empowered by the flourishing incubator scene. These centres for business can range from offering seriously cheap office space in a constructive, co-working environment, to providing a complete service that includes professional advice, events and marketing. Within south west London there is a growing range of business incubators, with each having something seriously unique to bring to the market. These include:
– Launch22, where all manner of entrepreneurs can co-work, capitalise upon mentorship and attend exclusive events;
– Connect, which is an incubator based in Kingston, SW London, and that offers a comprehensive service for businesses focused on high growth potential;
– Cockpit Arts, where craftspeople can be supported within an innovative environment.
– SHINE, which is specifically designed for the young start up business operating in the realm of creative work.
The infrastructure is just right
The capital of London can be said to be a commuter’s nightmare and a true no-go area for car drivers. Yet being so close to the UK capital does have its advantages and businesses can benefit from the range of services, venues and events that take place in the city itself (as well as providing for a happier route to work!).
Company formations that are easier than ever
A further fact that may be contributing to the number of businesses being struck up in SW comes in the form of company formation. No longer is it a process of paperwork and long drawn out waits; today, this process can take but a few minutes out of a single day, all done online upon a website such as Company Formations 24.7.
An economy that continues to steam ahead
Whilst there has been wobbles into the magret since the financial recovery, it seems that the outlook for the UK economy has never looked brighter. GDP continues to put in a solid show, employment rates have never been higher and new policies, such as the Government’s new national living wage, looks set to bolster consumer spending further.
South west London combines the best of both the south, and the west
West London boasts the second largest number of micro-businesses within the whole of London (NOMIS figures), and has long since been favoured by entrepreneurs working within the creative, media and tech sectors (where names such as Graze, notonthehighstreet.com and Brompton Bikes are to be found).
There’s also a great pool of talent to be found in west London, with 48.9% of the population holding NVQ Level 4 and above, and where average weekly earnings come in at a reasonable £569 (StartUps.co.uk 2014). Finally the survival rates for businesses in this area far outstrips the standard, with 59.6% of businesses reaching their fifth year (StartUps.co.uk 2014).
Equally south London is known as the Silicon Valley of the UK, with a 23% growth rate for such businesses since 2011 (Source: Croydon Council), this compares to the Capital’s rate of 17.1%, and the national average of just 11.3%. These rates then translate into an impressive 25 new start-us for every square kilometre (StartUps.co.uk 2014).
This is then coupled with some serious networking opportunities, with events and group meetings here including: ‘Croydon Creatives’, The Bromley Business Club and The Women in Business Network, as well as access to plenty of co-working offices such as Lombard House and Capital Business Centre, and workshop space within the Rainbow Industrial Estate.
Finally… the future is bright for business survival in the south west
The south west region is home to the best five year survival rate (with 45.5% of businesses surviving), this compares to the city of London, where only 37.5% of business survive (which is actually the lowest rate in all of the UK! [The Guardian 2014]).
Picture courtesy of Lars Plougmann, with thanks