The UK’s Growing Industry Hubs Outside of London

Where are the UK’s Fastest Growing Industry Hubs Outside of London?

With improving job markets, good transport links and plenty of amenities now available in many of the major cities in the UK, more and more young professionals are making the move away from the capital.

The implications of this is that London could no longer have the monopoly on young talent, and businesses are beginning to realise that there are growing business hubs outside of the capital that could benefit them.

In this blog post, we’ll have a look at the types of business clusters that are currently thriving in the UK.


Why can Location be Important for a Business?

Location for a business can be a key factor that contributes to its successful operations and overall growth. It has the job of meeting a company’s needs, as well as benefitting clients and employees by possessing all the right facilities and amenities for effective business operations.

Other important considerations for business locations are convenience, good transport links and cost. With high living costs in London, it’s no surprise that SME owners and startups are looking for alternative spots to set up their business operations. Rent and utility expenses when running an office space can make up a large part of a business’ overheads, so setting up in a more affordable location can make good business sense.


Up-And-Coming Industry Clusters

Whether you’re the owner of a startup or an established SME, there could be plenty of opportunities outside of the capital. Taking into account factors influencing the location of a business (like business activity, availability of talent, geographical factors and support available), there are many great cities and towns outside of London that are ideal for businesses.

Here are some of the business locations that are showing strong growth in different industries:


Digital Technology Sector

  • Manchester

Manchester is home to the largest city economy outside of London and there’s a wide variety of investment in the region. There’s also a huge access to young talent, thanks to it being home to the biggest university campus in Europe (with five in total).

A key business growth hub in Manchester is MediaCityUK, a mixed-use development based in Salford that has the potential to compete with London in the film, media and creative sector. The BBC has already relocated many of its departments there, and there are major developments for work and event spaces for SMEs. Along with a commitment to support digital startups, budding businesses could benefit from six-month rent-free packages within the development.


Energy Sector

  • Hull

With a low cost of living and an excellent location for overseas trade, the ‘City of Culture’ (in 2017) could be beneficial for SMEs within the green and renewable energy sector.

Hull’s new wind turbine manufacturing plant and a waste-to-energy centre, Energy Works, are both making the city a particularly lucrative business growth hub outside of London for businesses with a focus on green energy.

What’s more, the city has good transport links, both within the UK and overseas. Major cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds are easily accessible, there’s a large port and there are two airports within an hour’s drive of Hull: Robin Hood and Humberside.

This could be useful for SMEs who work across the UK or hope to expand their operations abroad in the future.


Retail Sector

  • Bristol

There are many retail opportunities available in Bristol, a city that’s home to a £500m retail project as part of the Bristol Shopping Quarter. In particular, the planned Cabot Circus development is a 36-acre site filled with shopping, hotel and leisure facilities.

The city is also home to one of the UK’s busiest ports, the Royal Portbury Docks, which is a strong global hub for businesses hoping to gain access to international markets. The area has also attracted SMEs thanks to its commercial development, Harbourside, a key business district in Bristol.

What’s more, there’s plenty of support for SMEs and startups – the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was recently awarded £86 million to attract new businesses to the Bristol area. They help SMEs and startups launching in or moving to the area access discounted business rates, grants, loans and investments.


Financial Sector

  • Leeds

Often said to be the UK’s main financial centre outside of London, Leeds is home to 30 national and international banks, the headquarters of three large building societies and employs around 37,000 people in this industry.

The city is an important centre for mortgage, insurance, stock broking, equity and venture finance, amongst many others. Its fast growing strength in this sector has attracted international investment as it increasingly establishes itself as a finance hub outside of the capital.

Fintech startups and finance SMEs that are looking for lower costs of living and a less saturated market outside of London may want to consider the city of Leeds for key business growth opportunities in this sector.

For those who aren’t quite ready to move up so far up north, Nottingham has also gained attention for its contribution to the fintech industry.


Help Your SME Make the Move

The above cities are just three of the growing industry hubs outside of London, with Glasgow, Newcastle and Aberdeen all making their mark on the digital technology and energy sectors. So, if you’re looking for a business HQ, there’s plenty of opportunities outside of the capital.

The location of your business is important and you can find the best city by taking into account factors like: investment in the area, business support opportunities, access to talent and transport networks that allow you to use international and UK delivery services like our own.

With all this in mind, if you’re looking to grow a business within the digital technology, energy, retail or financial sector and you’re looking for a lower cost of rent, but still want all the same amenities available as in London, consider one of our suggested business growth hubs and you could soon see your company thrive.



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