Warrington Punches Above its Weight in UK Business Location Report
Yet again, Warrington has been singled out as a high-ranking business location. The 2014 Centre for Cities' Annual Small Business Outlook, supported by Zurich Insurance, is a nation-wide report that offers a "health check" on the performance of SMEs in cities throughout the UK. It focuses on business conditions, ability to attract and retain skilled workers and access to funding, among other key performance indicators.
Warrington has been identified as one of the best performing locations in terms of SME job creation, ranked third with an average of eight jobs created per growing SME between 2010-13 (Warrington was classified as a ‘city’ by population size).
It has also been ranked 10th in a list of UK cities with the highest start-up rates.
Other analysis shows that between 72.3 - 76.6% of SMEs in Warrington invest in training. The report concludes that cities with a higher proportion of SMEs that invest in training are more likely to have more high-performing SMEs.
Of course it's not all rosy.
Elsewhere in the North West, Rochdale had one of the lowest proportions of SMEs with high-growth strategies, while Bolton and Manchester scored some of the most business closures between 2010 and 2013.
The report also alludes to concerns that the UK is too 'London-centric', which leaves regional cities overlooked and therefore struggling to attract talent and offer suitable business support. As expected, London has the highest concentration of SMEs - and to emphasise concerns over the North/South divide, the data shows that most cities bearing the lowest concentration of SMEs are in the North.
Warrington, however, has one of the highest employment rates in the UK at 77.5%, and has been singled out as having a high rate of SMEs with a high-growth strategies.
This, according to the report, is a key indicator of a city's performance and its contribution to the UK's recovering economy.
Chief executive of Centre for Cities, Alexandra Jones, said: "Cities with the largest share of SMEs employing high-growth strategies have wages that are, on average, 18 per cent higher than the bottom five cities."
She added that they are less likely to have taken cost-cutting approaches during the recession, and are "now more likely to be actively recruiting and expanding their businesses".
UBC can attest to those conclusions - just a few months ago we reported on high demand at our Daresbury business centre in South Warrington, and this location continues to attract high interest from local and national firms.
Yet again the findings are weighted in Warrington's favour, and the future looks good for an enterprising town that's working hard to support local businesses and help the UK economy continue on its path to recovery.