Slough Continues to Develop Innovative Business Sector
Slough, by all accounts, has a thriving business sector. Driven by creative partnerships and engaging businesses, the commuter town is driving upwards investment with an overall aim of innovation.
Out of Britain’s 63-largest urban areas, Slough has seen the fastest growth in the number of businesses over the past five years. The result of a huge shift in uptake around 20 years ago, Slough has been identified as a town that gets the fundamentals right.
Neil Lee of London School of Economics believes: “Lots of people talk about tech cities and creative cities, with entrepreneurs attracted by hipster coffee shops… businesses just need good parking, cheap offices and skilled workers.”
Looking at the companies that Slough is attracting, this is almost certainly the case. The town has the highest concentration of global corporate headquarters outside of London and is ranked 8th in Europe for ‘business friendliness’. Slough currently maintains 87,000 jobs in around 4,600 businesses, with 77% of employees aged 16 to 65 in work.
With big names such as Telefonica (O2), McAfee, Honda, the British division of Fiat, Lonza, Hytera and GlaxoSmithKline, there’s no shortage of large companies looking to stake a claim in Slough. There’s also several large clusters of American pharmaceutical and technology firms that are drawn by the excellent location. Many companies see Slough as part of West London but with much cheaper property costs, avoiding the long-distance relocation that comes with regional cities such as Birmingham or Manchester.
The Slough infrastructure is equally well-equipped to deal with such a large volume of businesses. Excellent fibre-optic connections, a huge pool of skilled workers and reliable power supplies are key benefits for tech-focused companies. £1.5bn worth of investment into new public spaces, retail, leisure and creative areas has also helped build the ideal location for people to live and work.
It’s this level of investment that has developed an environment that fosters startups, resulting in Slough having one of the highest number of startups per 10,000 population in the country.
Excellent access to Heathrow Airport and London combined with close proximity to several main motorways has elevated Slough’s status as a commuter location, a position that will only improve with the completion of Crossrail.
The Elizabeth Line will urbanise the town, attracting large firms that are looking to save on rent and providing opportunities for London-based workers that are seeking affordability.
As people look to leave London, Slough could quickly become the young professionals town of choice. Affordability in the London property market is stretched thin and more workers are looking at cheaper alternatives. The access to the capital that Slough offers, on top of the rapidly improving amenities and business opportunities mean we could soon see the commuter town become a hub for young, talented professionals.
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