The UK business centre market contributes £2bn to the economy – comprising 80,000 businesses and employing 400,000 people.
According to a report commissioned by the Business Centre Association, the sector occupies almost 70 million square feet and is growing rapidly as customers demand more flexible space solutions. UK business centres represent around a third of the global serviced office market.
Small businesses are of key importance in the growth of the sector – the number of SMEs in UK cities is up by 43% since 2000 and SMEs account for 97% of London businesses and 50% of jobs in the capital. The report said 43% of UK business centres opened between 2005 and 2009, during the recession.
However, it added that larger businesses are also using flexible space. “Large corporates increasingly take project and overflow space within business centres, taking advantage of the flexibility and simplicity rather than committing to long and potentially restrictive leases.”
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 perceived premium for flexibility is a misnomer with business centres representing better value than traditional leases.
“Recent research has shown that the bulk of economic growth comes from high growth SMEs with just 1% of the business community generating 68% of employment growth. This is where business centres excel, proving a magnet for those businesses who value flexibility and responsiveness as integral to their growth strategy. This includes corporate occupiers as well as high growth small businesses.”
While 70% of businesses based in business centres are in London and the South East, the North West has the highest concentration of centres outside of London. Centres in the Midland and the North are larger, reflecting the higher proportion of light industrial spaces.
Image credit: This photo by Find a London Office is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License https://www.flickr.com/photos/findalondonoffice/