Bristol is best for business

Author
Patrick Dicks
Marketing Executive | Business West
4th October 2016

Another week passes and another report is released on topics spanning everything from the happiness of commuters to internet broadband speeds. Lately though there seems to be one thing that isn't changing and that's Bristol being highly praised in a range of studies.

This blog will take you through some of the most recent reports that Bristol has featured in and identify three key reasons why Bristol is such a great  place to live and work.

The best place to start a business

Bristol has recently been ranked the number one place in the UK to start and grow a business, ahead of London which was ranked in second place. These findings were a result of research conducted by the UCL School of Management, who analysed the country’s most highly populated towns and cities, comparing availability, cost and quality of support for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Bristol has ranked above average on broadband speed; the average for the city is currently 34 mbps with the national average sitting at just 26mbps.

Bristol also stood out for affordable office space, with an average price of £2.52 per square foot. Compare this to the current UK average of £3.16, and the extravagant London average of £52.50 and it is easy to see that Bristol is a head above the rest.

Transport links are another important consideration for many start-up businesses and Bristol is perfectly positioned to take advantage of it’s proximity to London, whilst being far enough away to foster an encouraging, supportive entrepreneurial community.

With great access to motorways and the M32 leading right into the city centre, Bristol is an ideal place to start-up for companies in all sectors.

The largest legal centre outside of London

In a report conducted by property advisory firm CBRE, Bristol was named as the largest legal centre outside of London.

With big firms like TLT, New Law Legal, Veale Wasbrough Vizards LLP and Burroughs Day choosing to move to the city in the past few years, the estimated space occupied by law firms is approximately 875,000 sq ft, with these four firms alone taking up close to 84,000 sq ft.

The reasons for this? Nothing official has been published but one obvious reason would be again the great transport links to the largest legal centre in the country, London. In addition to the fact that Bristol has a great talent pool of young law students graduating from University of the West of England, the University of Bristol and the University of Law.

Here are the top five legal centres in terms of sizes in the UK (sq ft):

  1. Bristol 874,321
  2. Birmingham 781,893
  3. Manchester 774,922
  4. Edinburgh 486,467
  5. Leeds 476,023

The most productive tech and digital cluster

A recent report from Tech Nation has revealed Bristol and Bath to be the most productive tech and digital cluster in the country; the two cities are even ranked above London. The report looks at the productivity in the terms of sales per worker, Bristol and Bath totals an amazing £296,340, while our nation's capital is sitting in second place on £205,390 per worker.

Bristol and Bath also sit third behind London and Reading in total turnover from the digital industry, with a whopping £8.2bn, followed not-so-closely by Manchester, which is considerably less at £2.2bn.

Key to the success of our cluster is that Bristol and Bath have an amazing network of support for businesses looking to both start and grow. The SETsquared programme in the region was voted the number one university business incubator in the world. Housed in the Engine Shed directly outside Temple Meads, SETsquared is home to a whole host of exciting small businesses, expanding to launch Boxworks right next door.

Boxworks is specifically designed for small digital and tech companies offering affordable office space in the form of shipping containers to kick-start their business.

Undeniably, the most promising statistic to come out of this report is that turnover in the industry has shown an increase of 53% which means new and existing companies are growing at a considerably high rate. As the industry continues to boom, Bristol and Bath are clearly positioned to reap the benefits.

What's next for Bristol?

For those currently living and working in Bristol, the results of these reports come as no surprise. There is a real sense of something big happening in Bristol and these reports are proof of that. With the Bristol Arena on the way, new Metro Bus and developments like the Temple Quarter Zone promising new housing, shops, restaurants and office space, Bristol is the perfect place to start your business.

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