With Swindon having recently been voted one of the best places to live and work in the UK, and with major regeneration works in progress, now looks to be an excellent time for anyone thinking of starting a business in the area. Conveniently situated with easy transport links to London and the rest of the UK, Swindon has long been recognised by major businesses as an ideal logistical hub. Now entrepreneurs are also reaping the benefits of Swindon's strengths, and that can only be a boost to the local economy.
A great place to live and work
Last year Swindon was ranked one of the best places to work in the UK by Glassdoor, rising from tenth place in 2016 to fourth place in 2017. It rated 3.4 out of 5 for job satisfaction, and 3.9 out of 5 for job prospects. That reflects ideal conditions in Swindon for businesses of any kind, and entrepreneurs will be well-served by an upbeat and rewarding working culture.
Affordable and well-connected
Swindon was also recently voted the most in-demand location for UK property buyers, and although values are rising, commercial and residential property in Swindon is still cheaper than in Reading or Bristol, and certainly far more affordable than in London, which is just an hour away by train.
Low living and infrastructure costs plus great transport links- both by rail and the M4- mean that new businesses in Swindon have immediate access to the rest of the country and London for delivery, meeting clients and partners, and providing services, while still being able to run on a fraction of the budget they'd need in many major cities.
Perfect recruitment base
The Swindon Economic Growth Strategy has predicted that 10-20,000 new jobs will be created in Swindon by 2026. That is good news for start-ups, with a thriving labour market enabling entrepreneurs to easily fill skill gaps in their workforce. A new start-up may find it more cost effective to recruit contractors to fill specific temporary roles rather than pay a permanent member of staff. With wages and taxes being administered by an umbrella PAYE company the pressure is taken off accounts and HR departments allowing more time to focus on the core business.
As part of a £750m regeneration programme, Swindon borough council has partnered with the Enterprise Network to create a new £1m innovation hub for start-ups and fast-growing businesses, at the refurbished former Brunel Carriage Works. Building on Swindon's associations with Isambard Kingdom Brunel and its history of innovation in the railways and engineering projects of the Victorian era, the Innovators' Incubation Centre will provide 150 affordable co-working spaces and create a thriving hub of excellence for start-ups and other SMEs.
Local government support
Start-ups in Swindon can also take advantage of Outset Swindon, a free programme funded by the borough council and the European Regional Development Fund that provides guidance and support to local people starting their own businesses. In the last three years, Outset has enabled the creation of over 1750 new businesses and over 2000 new jobs.
Business innovation is putting the 'win' back in Swindon, and there's never been a better time to get on board.