New Report Provides Detailed Overview of the Business Landscape in Berkshire
Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has published the second edition of its Business in Berkshire Report. The Report is a comprehensive evidence base for Berkshire-based business support organisations and those with an interest in the local economy. It brings together a wide range of information, including: Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), high growth firms, relocations, deals and Research & Development.
Thames Valley Berkshire’s strong private sector provides 443,800 jobs and is the driving force behind the area’s high levels of economic output and productivity. It is also becoming increasingly international. Primarily as a result of its location, but also its skills base, the sub region continues to attract significant FDI, with over 1,000 Foreign-Owned Companies (in 2017) now located in the area; an 8% increase from 2010. Whilst Berkshire’s Foreign Owned Companies only represent 2% of local businesses, they generate 30% of local employment and 47% of local turnover.
The number of Berkshire firms scaling up (20% growth per year for three years) remains stable (and high, as a proportion of all firms, when compared to other areas of the country) and 12 Berkshire firms were featured in the 2018 Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list.
Extensive urban regeneration and the imminent arrival of the Elizabeth Line are adding to Berkshire’s locational strengths. Furthermore, the recent announcements of investment in Berkshire by leading professional services firms, such as Deloitte and KPMG, suggest long-term optimism for the performance of Berkshire’s businesses.
Business support in Berkshire
The report also focuses on the LEP's priorities designed to support the future growth of businesses. These include: promoting the sub region using Thames Valley Berkshire LEP’s Sector Propositions; supporting schools to prepare young people for the world of work by working with the Careers and Enterprise Company’s Enterprise Adviser Network; investing European Social Funds in the Berkshire Apprenticeship Hub to provide a one-stop shop for businesses - to gain fast and easy access to information; targeting inward investment activity with the support of the Department for International Trade and the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce; and investing £5 million European Regional Development Funds in the Thames Valley Science Park.
In developing its Local Industrial Strategy, access to finance remains a priority. In 2012 the LEP took the bold and innovative step of investing £7.3m Growing Places Fund into a bespoke Funding Escalator for high growth potential SMEs; the first LEP in the country to use GPF in this way. In 2018, having already increased the fund to £8.3m, the LEP committed a further £3million to make it £11.3million and operate as an ‘evergreen fund’; loans will also now be available up to £300,000. In supporting start-ups, high growth firms and scale-ups, the Berkshire Business Growth Hub offers impartial and actionable help and support services to anyone starting or expanding their own business. All of these activities have transformed the way businesses can grow by creating an enduring legacy of business investment, innovation and growth in Berkshire.
Daniel Barlow, Partner at Deloitte, said of the report, “At Deloitte, we view the LEP’s annual Business in Berkshire publication as the pre-eminent valuable source of information on the local economy and the key players within it.”
Robin Barnes, Programme Lead for Enterprise, Innovation & Business Growth at Thames Valley Berkshire LEP added, “I am delighted to be able to report the continued vibrant health of the Berkshire economy and its continued capacity to attract strong levels of FDI. There is no doubt that there are challenges ahead for the area, however the report provides optimism and demonstrates Berkshire’s resilience and strength for the future. This evidence base will further help inform the development of a Local Industrial Strategy for Berkshire.”
Download the report here http://bit.ly/BusinessinBerkshire18