5 Reasons Why London Is the Ideal City for Business
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Whatever you're looking for, you're sure to find it in London. There are many good reasons why the U.K. capital has become one of the world's most visited cities. This cosmopolitan metropolis is not only beloved by tourists, however. Every year, London plays host to ever more businesses. Here are five reasons why it's a worthwhile option for any company, new or established, to consider.
1. Gain access to a diverse, skilled workforce.
It goes without saying that you can access a large pool of potential employees if you set up your business in a city of 8.1 million. What makes London stand out compared to other global cities is its multi-ethnicity. According to Trust for London, 41 percent of Londoners come from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background, compared to just 10 percent in the rest of the country. Diversity in the workplace helps you to understand all your customers better, and ultimately, to perform better financially.
London's multicultural population is also highly skilled. Just ask any recent graduate from anywhere else in England. About a third of them move to London upon completing their degrees. It's no surprise, then, that 24 percent of inner London inhabitants are aged 25-34. London is a place where you can hire upstart, skilled professionals who are eager to prove themselves by growing your business.
2. Get help from the U.K. government.
The U.K. is particularly supportive of small and growing enterprises, which makes the country a tempting prospect for entrepreneurs. It's relatively easy to claim financial assistance, for example via the government-backed Start Up Loans program. You can also take advantage of a number of schemes designed to reduce the tax burden a new business faces, including R&D tax credits, capital allowances and subsidized broadband.
London is the best place from which to access these and other channels of support. There are many localized services which Londoners are able to take advantage of, from Enterprise Centres, where you can apply for low-cost workspace, to growth support programs and free business libraries.
3. Make new connections, secure investment.
In 2016 alone, 205,352 new businesses were registered in London, swelling the total number of firms in the capital to around 1.1 million. According to new research from CBRE, the city is also the largest technology cluster in the EMEA region. As such, London is brimming with networking opportunities. There are plenty of organized meetups happening on a weekly basis and dedicated groups offering workshops where you can learn new skills and ideas from the hive mind.
London is highly investable. According to the Lord Mayor's office, tech firms in the city raised a record £2.45 billion in 2017, which makes up about 80 percent of all venture capital tech funding in the U.K. last year. Over the past two years, London tech companies have received more VC funding than Paris, Berlin and Stockholm combined. Don't forget these figures were achieved post-Brexit, which should put a lot of fears to rest. It's also good to know that more than half of all U.K. business accelerators are based in London, making it the perfect spot to take your growing business to the next level.
4. Service a wider customer base.
With six international airports, 10 major ground transport hubs and an extensive, iconic underground rail system, it's no exaggeration to say that London's infrastructure is among the best in the world. Good foundation, of course, is good for business. In London, it's easy to provide personal service to millions of potential customers within the city itself, across the U.K. and around the world.
London's geographical positioning is uniquely advantageous. Sitting next door to mainland Europe, between the Americas and Asia, you can reach most major financial hubs from London in less than a day. It also helps that London's time zone allows the city's working day to overlap with New York, Frankfurt, Singapore and Hong Kong, to name just a few.
5. Enjoy room to grow and roam.
Need to find a place to work? In London, there are many coworking spaces within easy reach. Time for an upgrade? The city is committed to creating new office space -- the latest draft of the Mayor of London's New London Plan stresses the need to increase the availability of workspace to meet rising demand and to ensure that low-cost business space remains accessible over the next decades.
London is also an excellent city for entertaining visiting clients. You'll never run out of new places to take them, from world-class museums to Michelin-starred restaurants. If funds don't stretch quite that far, there's always the South Bank's hottest new pop-up. Not to mention, accommodation is plentiful across every borough, no matter what your budget.
When choosing where to do business, London meets all the right criteria. It's home to all the right people, the highest-quality services and a multitude of opportunities. When you look at it all together, London becomes even more than the sum of its parts. It's not just a city but a bridge, connecting you to comrades in arms. It's a security net, saving you from a fall. Best of all, it's a ladder, helping you rise to ever greater heights.