Nestled in the heart of South East England, Kent is often referred to as the ‘garden of England’ because of its rich and varied natural beauty. The idyllic countryside belies the county’s importance to the UK economy and a thriving business community.
Within touching distance of London and just miles from the European mainland Kent is one of the most attractive places to setup a new business or locate a commercial operation. In fact Kent now boasts more business start-ups per head of population than Brighton.
Read on to find our top five reasons to base your business in Kent.
1. Kent’s small business sector is booming
Kent boasts over 50,000 businesses located within the county, together providing jobs for around 550,000 people and allowing Kent to enjoy employment statistics that exceed the national average. Surprisingly, almost 70 percent of companies located in Kent are small firms with no more than four employees; a situation that has engendered the development of strong support networks of like-minded business people.
Entrepreneurs will feel right at home setting up their new business in Kent and considering the struggles involved in getting a business idea off the ground, many will be able to take heart in the fact that the one-year survival rate of new businesses in Kent also exceeds the national average.
2. Diverse range of industrial sectors
Despite mostly being small businesses, no one industrial sector dominates the economy of Kent, unlike many other regions of the UK. Kent benefits from a strong and balanced economy with notable areas of activity including tourism and hospitality, freight and logistics, construction, printing and scientific research.
This organic mix of different businesses provides Kent with a stable and prosperous economic bedrock, ensuring that the damage from any economic crises or shocks is limited. And this is borne out in experience: one survey found that almost three quarters of small business owners in Kent feel positive about the next year in light of the Brexit vote.
3. A thriving local business community
Perhaps it’s the fact that Kent isn’t dominated by a single large, bustling city, Kent businesses often cite the network of small but thriving business communities across the county as one of the attractions of doing business here. With supportive local government bodies, an excellent and committed chambers of commerce, and even a local Kent business radio station, Kent has a well developed sense of community and collaboration, whether you’re running an accountancy firm in Medway, an export business out of Dover or a legal practice in Maidstone.
4. Massive investment in infrastructure
Kent is included in the scope of the Thames Estuary Development Plan, a government scheme to deliver long-term economic growth and development for the region extending from the east of London to Thanet in Kent and Southend in Essex. The identified area includes a population of over three million, with its unique location allowing for outstanding growth in the future.
The Development Plan, launched earlier this year, laid out specific facts and figures for investment in infrastructure to kick-start an economic boom in the region. Southend Airport is to be expanded to drive up passenger numbers from just 5,000 a year to around a million, bringing huge numbers of potential customers through the area.
There are also plans for £1.5 billion from private investors to create an international London Gateway Port, creating 12,000 jobs on-site and a further 30,000 new jobs in related industries, together with further improvements to local transport links. The Ebbsfleet Garden City development also received £300 million of funding for new homes and jobs.
All of this makes the area an extremely promising location for up-and-coming businesses to take root.
5. Great transport connections
Rail and road links to London allow local residents to get into and out of the Capital faster than London residents can travel across the city on the Underground. The planned Lower Thames Crossing, Crossrail and HS1 developments will improve this still further. And despite all of this, house prices in Kent are 70 percent lower than those of London and an amazing 15 percent lower than other areas in the south east. It’s not hard to see why so many businesses and people are flocking to the region.