When it comes to deciding where to start your business or open a new office it’s all about location, location, location. So whether you’ve already decided Leeds is right for your business, or if you’re still trying to decide, we thought we’d share some of the most exciting developments happening in the city that we think will seriously benefit businesses.
1. We’re about to get well connected, very well connected indeed.
In 2016 Leeds City Council announced bold plans to introduce new transport infrastructure to the city, including the creation of three new train stations at Leeds Bradford Airport, The White Rose Shopping Centre and Thorpe Park. Not only do these transport plans have positive implications for Leeds’ businesses on a national level, the new station at the airport also has positive implications for Leeds’ businesses on an international
Not only will travel times be reduced between northern cities and the south of England, so too will travel times from overseas and this greatly increases the talent pool and resources Leeds’ businesses can benefit from in the future. In fact, as Bruntwood reports, better transport links between cities in the north of England alone could mean the region as a whole will have access to a whopping 16 million skilled workers. To put that in perspective, that’s around the same volume of potential workers within an hour of London. So that’s some serious employment potential.
On a more practical level, better transport connections can also improve profitability and productivity, especially for businesses where staff need to travel for work. As the time staff spend out of the office travelling to client meetings, transporting goods and so on and so forth, could be significantly reduced.
2. We’re a tech savvy bunch.
The digital sector in Leeds had a GVA of £671 million according to Tech Nation 2016 and that looks set to increase as more and more digital businesses join the already 3,500 strong sector in the city. And that’s not 3,500 small businesses by the way, that includes the likes of Sky, Rockstar, Epiphany and Stickyeyes to name just a few.
This is an industry that’s heavily focused on data, and there’s plenty of that in Leeds too thanks to the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics and the Open Data Institute.
3. It’s growing, fast!
Leeds is already the third largest city in the UK, with a population of over 715,000 but that’s expected to grow by a further 17.1% over the next 10 years according to the UK Powerhouse report from Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economic & Business Research.
The population isn’t the only thing growing though, foreign investment has increased massively in recent years placing Leeds 2nd
in the EY Attractiveness Survey 2016
for foreign direct investments and The Business Location Index also ranked Leeds as the fourth most attractive city outside of London for inward investment. And finally, Leeds Council reports
that the city’s economy has grown by 34% in the last decade and is forecast to grow by a further 21% over the next ten years.
4. Big names are moving in.
It’s all started with the opening of Trinity Leeds which tempted a number of big names out of London and into the North for the first time. This, followed by the opening of Victoria Gate last autumn which brought with it John Lewis and Anthropologie, means Leeds is now the third best place to shop outside of London. That’s fantastic news for the city’s retail sector.
But it’s not all about the retail sector, Sky has also moved their betting and gaming office into the city and Equifax and Burberry have also invested in Leeds. Elsewhere the ongoing redevelopment of sites like The Tetley Brewery means there is even more scope for leading businesses and big brand names to bring more wealth into the city. That means new businesses moving into the city are guaranteed to be in good company.
5. We’re good with money too.
Add to the list of Leeds’ accolades the title of “biggest financial hub outside of London”. The city is home to over 30 national and international banks and it’s the Bank of England’s only base outside of the country’s capital. As well as banks, Leeds is also home to the big four accountancy firms and most of the UK’s biggest law firms as well. That means the region is going to continue to attract highly educated workers and be able to offer other businesses some top quality professional services.
6. We’ll be saying hello to even more start-ups
While many big businesses already have a presence in Leeds, it doesn’t mean smaller businesses and start ups are overlooked. In fact, the entrepreneurial spirit of Leeds embraces start-ups with open arms and the Leeds City Enterprise (LEP) offers funding, training and advice to both new and growing businesses. With all this support available, it’s no surprise the Start-up Cities index 2015 ranked Leeds in the top 10 and as more and more start-ups become disillusioned with London and struggle with the excessively high rents, we think we can expect even more new businesses to set up in Leeds.
7. And we’ll be saying hello to even more new talent
Leeds has not one, not two, but three universities including the Russell Group member the University of Leeds, as well as other vocational institutions includes the Leeds’ colleges of art, music and building. This results in a constant supply of fresh talent, as collectively more than 65,000 students work their way towards qualifications in the city. This is fantastic news for businesses in the city as it means the talent pool is constantly growing and improving. On top of this, the University of Leeds also has an abundance of active Knowledge Transfer Partnerships so businesses can tap into their research expertise.
8. There’s space for even more growth.
If you’re thinking the future of Leeds might involve a decline in the city’s growth and development then think again. Instead, Leeds is a city with plenty of space still left for even more impressive growth. The South Bank is Europe’s largest city centre brownfield regeneration sites and while much of that 136-hectare space has already been transformed there’s still more than 30 hectares left to play with.
Wellington Place also continues to grow as MEPC continue towards their goal of creating 1.5 million square feet of commercial, leisure, retail and residential space in the city. And then, of course, there is the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone which encompasses 142 hectares of development land with huge potential.
For even more reasons why you should move your business to Leeds, check out the Leeds List and in the meantime, why not start looking for your brand new Leeds office?