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The £2bn Economy – UK Business Centres

24th November 2014

A report by the Business Centre Association (BCA) has revealed that the UK’s business centres collectively have a customer base of high growing SMEs contributing £2bn to the UK economy.

It provides the first authoritative measures of the size of the market and examines the factors affecting its performance.

A report commissioned by the Business Centre Association (BCA) has revealed that the UK’s business centres collectively have a vibrant customer base of high growing SMEs contributing £2bn to the UK economy. It provides the first authoritative measures of the size of the market and examines the factors affecting its performance.

Around 80,000 UK SMEs are based in businesses centres. With flexibility at the core of the model, business centres are the natural home for businesses with major growth ambition.

Jennifer Brooke, Chief Executive of the BCA commented:

“Business centres are uniquely placed to respond to the evolving demands of
innovative companies with growth ambition. The Report also shows that the
perceived premium for flexibility is a misnomer with business centres representing better value than traditional leases.”

The north-east is a growing hub for high growth SMEs and for the business centres which accommodate them with competitive services acting as a magnet for SMEs. It is not just small businesses which see the north east as an attracting location, Gareth Evans of north east based business centre company, Bizspace commented:

“Large corporates already use the business centre model and during recession
retrenched to Head Offices. They will return once they see expansion in their

Charlie Cudworth of Prospect Business Centres which operates centres in Leeds

“We have a range of occupiers across SMEs and large corporates. Leeds has been a difficult market in recent times with not enough Grade A space. Increasingly, this is changing as offices are upgraded and redeveloped. I think the prospects for 2015 are very positive.”

Freya Cross of The Deep commented:

“The city of Hull is buzzing. The Deep Business Centre has always enjoyed a higher than average occupancy rate 92-96%. Enquiries have been steady and have increased significantly in September. 
“There has been an increase in start-up companies or home based companies increasing their business commitment. Hull has been dedicating resources to building the renewables and digital sectors and this is definitely happening. My last four main enquiries have been from national and international technology and renewables companies.”

We are seeing growth in our tenant companies. Our new prime space occupier is an SME that started in the business centre 3 years ago, they are expanding from 1000sqft and will be increasing staffing levels from 15 to 40 and ultimately 70 in the next 18 months. As a local company they are securing major national contracts. 2 more companies have indicated expansion in the next 3-6 months – Of the centres within the Report, 43% opened during the recession highlighting a resilient sector which can adapt both to changing demands and economic circumstances.

The Report, commissioned by the BCA and undertaken by IPD and Snapdragon Consulting published today looks, for the first time, at the distinguishing features of the Business Centre market, examining the growth of the industry, the facilities offered, how charging structures work and the demand from occupiers. 

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