Small business is booming in Berkshire if the results of Informi’s Best Place To Start A Small Business In The UK 2018 are anything to go by. With nearby Reading having already been revealed in our top ten places on this year’s list, the town of Slough has trumped its bigger neighbour in order to take sixth place.
Slough has just 145,700 inhabitants – the seventh smallest of the 63 towns and cities studied – but its entrepreneurial spirit is there for all to see. The town has enjoyed a boom in its population in recent years and this is mainly down to business, with the highest concentration of global corporate HQs anywhere in the UK, outside of London.
Why is Slough a good place to start a business?
“Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough, It isn’t fit for humans now;” John Betjeman famously condoned back in 1937. The town may have initially struggled to shake off that particular epithet, especially in the light of the award-winning comedy The Office being set in a paper company in the town, which is presented as a depressing wasteland.
But since the start of the century, the local economy has switched from manufacturing to information technology, with hundreds of companies basing themselves in Slough Trading Estate.
The town had the second highest number of new businesses – 83 – starting up per 10,000 population during 2016 (behind only London) while it also has the eighth highest business stock with 400 businesses registered per 10,000 people. Slough is, therefore, already a thriving hub for business – which is encouraging more companies to set up there already. Businesses can benefit from one another, and the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group’s presence in Slough means there are strong networking opportunities.
Big names at home in Slough
Where can Slough improve?
If you want to set up camp in Slough, it’ll cost you. The average house price is £328,067, some 12 times that of the average area salary, which is a worse ratio than neighbours Reading and indeed all but six other towns and cities in the UK.
During 2016, Slough had the second highest overall property price rises – its 19.6% increase during the year beaten only by Basildon in Essex.
At home in Slough
IBB Solicitors is a law firm which conducts extensive work in Slough as well as across the wider Thames Valley and South East. Joanna DeBiase is their Managing Partner.
“The multiplying effect of its diverse business community on jobs, wages, local services and producers makes Slough a great place to set up and run a business,” says Joanna. “But, of course, there is competition from other towns and cities for this thriving business community.
“As any business owner knows, managing knowledge, making it work for you, and juggling conflicting advice to arrive at the best solution is not only time consuming and wearing, but it reduces productivity and increases time to market. Slough’s broad base of manufacturing and service sectors provides resilience to the town and to the business community, and creates the need for advice that can be delivered by place, technical area and sector.”
We’ve now filled positions 6-10 on our countdown, and tomorrow we’ll reveal which UK town or city has finished fifth in our Best Places list. Will Berkshire and Hampshire continue its current stranglehold on the top positions or will towns and cities get a look-in? All will be revealed…
The Top 10 Best Places To Start A Business In The UK 2018
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