Why Liverpool Could be the Best Place to Start a New Business in the UK

Liverpool

Introduction

Liverpool, England, is possibly most well-known as the home of the very successful premier league football clubs, Liverpool FC and Everton FC. The city is located in the north west of England, in the metropolitan county of Merseyside. Although not a city with a very large population, estimated at 493,353 in 2018, however, when the surrounding areas are included, there is a population of over 2,24 million people (2011) and it is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom (UK).

Liverpool has a very rich history and heritage. In addition to being the home of the Beatles and other giants of the pop culture in the 1960’s, it has been a centre of trade, particularly through shipping, for many years. It is located on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary and grew as a major port fueled by the expansion of the city throughout the Industrial Revolution.

The port of Liverpool historically handled diverse cargo including raw materials such as coal and cotton, slaves transported in the Atlantic Slave Trade and in the nineteenth (19th) century, it was one of the major departure ports for both Irish and English persons emigrating
to North America.

Although the level of trade has decreased over the decades, in many ways Liverpool already has the bones for a very vibrant business environment and is working through organizations such as the Liverpool City Council to encourage and create incentives for the growth of businesses in Liverpool.

Why Start a Business In Liverpool?

If you talk to anyone in Liverpool, in particular members of the Liverpool City Council, they will give you many reasons why you should bring your business to Liverpool. What are these advantages? Why is Liverpool the best location for their business?

Amenities

  1. The city of Liverpool is a two-hour train ride from London – using the Euston Station.
  2. The official airport of the city is the Liverpool John Lennon Airport which has many flights, cargo and commercial, to many destinations including several international ports. This central transportation point is located in very close proximity to the city.
  3. Liverpool is home to several business parks. These include:
  4. Liverpool Innovation
  5. Merseyworld; and
  6. Stonebridge Park

While the current stock of office space is deemed limited and smaller than the space available in other cities with which Liverpool may be competing to attract businesses, for example Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, there are immediate things being done to address this shortage. One innovative concept to address the issue of office space is that of the use of co-working offices.

Several such complexes have already been established and operational to meet the needs of new, small businesses. These include DoES Liverpool, Basecamp and Igloo. Additionally, there is the development and growth of Liverpool SUPERPORT creating opportunities which will make the Port of Liverpool into the shipping and logistics “hub” for the Northern United Kingdom and Ireland.

Labour Talent Pool

  • As the home to four (4) universities and a relatively high working age population educated to at least NVQ Level 4, Liverpool has a significant labour pool.
  • The average weekly earnings in Liverpool is below the national average.
  • For startups, the city also runs the Liverpool Youth contract which offer these new startups an apprenticeship subsidy.

Funding

There are funding opportunities and access to grants available particularly for science and technology firms. This should be explored to determine if you qualify.

Buying Commercial Property v Renting

In starting your new business, there are several major decisions to be made and factored into your business plan. One such is the consideration of the premises for your business. Which is your best option – do you buy or rent? If you’re looking for property to rent in Liverpool, there are a wide selection of low-cost business units and warehouses – many with negiotable terms. If you’re looking for property to buy, there will be more on offer but your budget may limit your choice, especially it you are small business or start-up.

In making this decision you must evaluate the pros and cons of each option.

To Rent?

  1. No large initial capital outlay.
  2. Major maintenance costs would be that of the landlord.
  3. Rental costs will periodically increase.
  4. If the business grows faster than anticipated, it is easier to quickly move to new premises.
  5. If the business doesn’t success it is easier to exit.
  6. The premises will always belong to the landlord and will never be an asset of the company.

To Buy?

There are very few new businesses who will have the resources to make the significant capital outlay and purchase property, at the startup.

Considerations:

  1. What is the cost, and therefore what will the deposit and monthly repayment amounts be?
  2. Could this amount be more valuable to the business if invested in the company?
  3. What will the ongoing maintenance costs be?
  4. Suppose the business is initially not as successful as initially projected to be? What impact will the repayments and maintenance have on the business?
  5. Suppose interest costs go up?
  6. Suppose we are forced to sell? Can we get a quick sale and not lose on the transaction?

After looking at all the factors most new businesses, unless very cash rich, will choose to rent and reduce their initial outlay on the premises.

What Freight Options are Available to My Business?

Liverpool has several options for transportation of freight because of its location. Readily accessible are:

  • The proximity to airports including the Liverpool John Lennon Airport with all the facilities for the transportation of freight, both locally and internationally, by air.
  • For shipping, there are the large port facilities which are also be expanded into a Superport and the creation of a logistics hub. These cater to all the shipping needs for transatlantic trade, including as a container terminal which is perfect for companies in the import/export business.
  • The city is also located very close to the major motorways which connect the south, central, south-east and south-west of England, as well as going north to Scotland.
  • The North of Wales, Hull, Manchester, Leeds, Huddersfield and many other cities and commercial centres of England are also very accessible to Liverpool using the road network, tunnels and interchanges.
  • Although less frequently used for freight the railway also provides an opportunity for freight, particularly for smaller items.

This shows that the facility of transportation is readily available and it is up to the business to determine which one is more suitable to the
business.

What Business Support is Available in Liverpool?

In addition to the Liverpool City Council, there are several entities geared to provide information and support for businesses in Liverpool. One
major player is the Liverpool Vision, which partners with the Local Growth Hub for Liverpool City Region and directs interested businesses to the resources available to the businesses. The Local Growth Hub was created to establish a one stop shop’ or single access point for businesses in Liverpool which require assistance.

Liverpool Vision is mandated to develop and implement programmes geared to building the capacity and confidence in the SME’s of
Liverpool. Following an evaluation of your business the plan will be to assist in areas geared to the success of the business, including:

  • Strategic Business Planning
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Exporting
  • Procurement & Tender Readiness

If your business falls into the category of small medium enterprise (SME) and you are located in Liverpool, you will have access to the services offered through the Liverpool Vision.

Conclusion

It is obvious that the city of Liverpool is committed to building a vibrant SME sector. All the facilities to support this sector has already been put in place or is being developed. Led by the Liverpool City Council the environment has been created to attract new and small businesses as well as provide the support to assist them to thrive. If the businesses grow and thrive so will the City of Liverpool. All the required facilities are there:

  1. Office, warehouse and storage facilities.
  2. The commercial rental capacity has been increased including the development of co-office facilities and the facilities at the Superport.
  3. Freight services are fully available, whether through shipping, air road or rail, with accessibility to most areas of England and Wales and internationally as well.
  4. The business development and support services
    are there and readily available to the business community.
  5. An educated labour talent pool.
  6. Funding and grant opportunities.

When you consider what is required to start a new business and grow it successfully, Liverpool has created the necessary and business friendly environment for this. With all considered you should no longer ask the question “Why Liverpool Could be the Best Place to Start a New Business in the UK?” but rather should make the statement that Liverpool Is the Best Place to Start a Business in the UK.

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