Business & Enterprise

World-class location for business


Westminster is the economic powerhouse and heart of the London and national economy. Iconic neighbourhoods and famous destinations such as Marble Arch, the West End, Piccadilly, Leicester Square, Oxford Street, Soho, Marylebone and Mayfair offer a rich heritage of museums, galleries, theatres and parks, an outstanding choice of independent, high street and luxury retail, and an unparalleled and diverse hospitality and culinary offer. With its unique position at the heart of the UK’s political, academic and diplomatic life, and a centre for world tourism and the global economy, Westminster’s influence is resoundingly international and multicultural. Yet its character is distinctly local.

A meeting place for London and the world, Westminster’s quality of life and business credentials attract the highest number of start-up and scale-up businesses in the UK, and is second only to its neighbouring financial district of the City of London in terms of productivity, while in turn offering the largest evening economy in the UK.

With a resident population of over 260,000, and over 120,000 businesses calling Westminster their home, 650,000 workers and over a million visitors per day transform the area into the largest employment and visitor hub in the UK.

Westminster is a leader in the knowledge economy (55% of all jobs in the borough). It is also highly ranked for universities and higher education, home to the main campuses of three of the best universities in the world – Imperial College London, King’s College London, and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) – along with the Royal Academy of Music, the Courtauld Institute, the London Business School, and many more world famous facilities.

London is Europe’s most important location for Foreign Direct Investment. Westminster is a major factor in decisions to invest in the UK, as well as being a significant recipient itself. The Westminster Investment Service provides support to existing and new investors. Working closely with London & Partners and Westminster’s Business Improvement Districts, the service guides investors into and around the borough.

For more information on our concierge and soft landing service, please contact: businessunit@westminster.gov.uk

 

  • One of the most attractive features and success of Westminster’s economy is its diversity and innovation across sectors and neighbourhoods.

    The West End Arts and Culture sector’s GVA was estimated at £4.8bn in 2018 – equivalent to 23% of all London’s Arts and Culture sector output. As a world class shopping destination, it ranked second (behind only New York) in the 2016 Global Retail City Designation Index Ranking.

    Unique local area based clusters are also found in Soho (creative industries), Harley Street (medicine), Savile Row (tailoring), Baker Street (health and wellbeing) and Piccadilly and Leicester Square (entertainment), alongside established famous London institutions, such as Selfridges, Liberty, the Savoy, the Ritz, Claridges, The Dorchester, and the Goring. Westminster offers 33 Michelin starred restaurants, 14 of London’s 19 five star hotels, and a host of experiential retail provide an exciting array and blend of heritage and innovation, and both daytime and evening economic potential.

    In addition to Westminster’s unique sector strengths in the visitor, leisure, entertainment and retail clusters, Westminster’s largest sector by employment is in professional, scientific and technical services, along with informatics and communications, finance, public administration and education, property and construction.

    Westminster is a leader in tech-based companies. Currently estimated to lead all London boroughs on future low carbon and renewable energy jobs, it tops the UK’s Scale-Up Index 2020, and has the largest number of start-ups in the UK with 6,596 new businesses established over the period February 2019 to September 2020. During the Covid pandemic, London has seen a wave of entrepreneurial activity, and Westminster’s business base has risen to the challenges of societal and economic change. With many companies ranking in top tech listings and awards, and access to significant venture funding through London’s capital base, Westminster offers compelling competitive advantage.

    For further details on sector opportunities, please contact: businessunit@westminster.gov.uk

     

  • The council is committed to offering the right environment and support for start-up businesses by increasing its enterprise space to 220,000 sq. ft. by March 2019.

    Click here to download the Enterprise Spaces presentation.

    Enterprise space is characterised by focus on businesses in their more vulnerable first 5-years, levels of affordability, flexibility in tenure, fostering of a peer-support business community, a proactive business support offer and a professional work environment. As ‘business incubators’, enterprise spaces are proven to double first five-year survival rates, be helpful for local residents wanting to start businesses, increase sales and generate new jobs.

    The 220,000 sq. ft. target amount of enterprise space will have employment workspace for approximately 4,000 full time jobs and support approximately 2,000 businesses, which represents approximately 5% of Westminster’s business count.

    Westminster’s enterprise spaces are located across the borough, including being within the central activity zone. Increasing the amount of enterprise space in the Harrow Road area is being considered in the place shaping and regeneration plans for the area.

    Here are details on the portfolio of existing and future enterprise space projects in alphabetical order. In addition to the council allocating some of its own finite resources for this programme, the GLA and the West End Partnership have are providing some financial support.

    • Great Western Studios
      81,000 sq. ft. studio space for creative industry businesses in Westbourne ward. The current site opened in 2010 and supports over 150 businesses. The council was an investment partner in this highly successful project.
      To see space click here.
    • Paddington Works
      16,250 sq. ft. affordable business space and enterprise training centre for 160 start-up businesses, particularly those run by local residents. Opportunity arose via section 106 obligations for a new housing development. The council is a co-founder and investment partner in this project. Launched in October 2018.
      To see space click here.
    • Huckletree Soho at Ingestre Court
      12,000 sq. ft. affordable co-working and small office space in Soho for businesses in the creative industry. The project aims to contribute in its own way to addressing the challenges faced by some creative industry businesses that are being pushed out of the area due to rising rent and business rates. The building is owned by the council and is being redeveloped in early 2019 ready for opening in May 2019.
    • Interim Spaces at Regent House
      A 1,600 sq. ft. meanwhile space for businesses in the creative industries. The space is owned by the Portman Estate, who will be re-developing the building. Interim Spaces is a charity that delivers enterprise space on temporary periods of 6-36 months. The space opened in 2016.
    • Lisson Arches
      15,000 sq. ft. co-working and training maker space for 150 technology and creative businesses. It will also offer opportunities for local residents and local school children to learn and do new hobbies. The council is currently building this space as part of a mixed use development. An operator will be sought from autumn of 2019 with a view to the space opening in 2021/22.
    • Maida Hill Place
      3,000 sq. ft. kitchen and restaurant space for 100 food businesses each year, who sequentially hire the space out to test and establish start-up businesses. The council provided financial support for this enterprise space which opened in 2013.
      To see space click here.
    • Somerset House Studios
      44,000 sq. ft. affordable studio space in Somerset House for 100 businesses in the creative industries (primarily artists and designers). The project has turned unused former Government offices into space for start-up businesses. The council provided financial support for this. It opened in 2016.
      To see space click here.
    • Venture 382
      A 3,600 sq. ft. affordable co-working, mentoring and training space for local self-employed residents in Church Street. The space was part of the HELP Enterprise project originally focussed on residents at risk of homelessness. The temporary space remains open.
    • Westminster Enterprise Centre
      A 700 sq. ft. affordable hot-desking space for local residents who have been supported by the centre since 2008 via mentoring and training. The space opened in 2016.
      To see space click here.
    • Great Western Studios +
    • Paddington Works +
    • Huckletree Soho at Ingestre Court +
    • Interim Spaces at Regent House +
    • Lisson Arches +
    • Maida Hill Place +
    • Somerset House Studios +
    • Venture 382 +
    • Westminster Enterprise Centre +

    Other enterprise spaces being developed include a 15,000 sq. ft. space in Victoria, 50,000 sq. ft. at multiple sites in the Harrow Road area, re-purposing empty shops in Church Street and 4,000 sq. ft. in Marylebone. The council is also working with serviced office operators, property developers via the Westminster Property Association and reviewing its own assets to explore more enterprise space being catalysed. The council is also working closely with the West End Partnership who are currently exploring provided substantial support to catalyse more affordable workspace in the West End for creative industry businesses.

Contact

Contact the Westminster Business Unit to get information and advice on affordable workspace, business support, employment and training, business rates, licensing, and more.

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