There’s never been a better time to start a business in the UK.

The UK is one of the most open and welcoming countries for business, and with its reinvigorated global outlook post-Brexit, it is attracting entrepreneurs from all around the world to participate in its global success story. But what makes our business environment so great? Discover our top five reasons below.

 

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The UK is a leading global business hub

Recognised as a leading business and enterprise hub worldwide, the culture of innovation in the UK is something quite unique. Other than its thriving financial and business service sectors, the country has nurtured 72 ‘unicorn companies’ over the past 20 years – start-ups that have reached a valuation of more than $1bn. This is the fourth-largest number of such companies created by any country worldwide. The UK continues to produce world-leading companies in industries as diverse as fintech, renewable energy and education. With the UK’s invigorated global business ambitions post-Brexit, it is likely that its reputation for being a global magnet for business will only increase.

 

It’s easy to do business in the UK

Britain’s success as a world leader for business shouldn’t come as a surprise. Businesses set up in the UK enjoy freedom from restrictive red tape and regulatory restraints when compared to many other developed economies. The UK Government’s longstanding ‘Business Impact Target’ and ‘Cutting Red Tape’ review programmes were established with the ambition to aggressively cut restrictions to business and support businesses of all types and sizes to maximise their success. With an efficient business formation process, taking on average just four days from first registering of the business to launch, and with a low 20% corporation tax you’ll have the peace of mind that the country is on your side, allowing you to focus your attention where it matters most.

The British government also provides various schemes that offer advice, grants, and tax benefits to new start-ups. One of the most popular grants is through the Regional Growth Fund programmes which are run by local and national organisations and available to entrepreneurs looking for funding under £1 million. In addition to strong support from the public sector, the UK’s thriving financial sector means there are many private avenues for securing seed funding and business loans from ‘incubator offices’ and private investors, making the UK a clear winner for ambitious entrepreneurs to scale their new venture quickly and with confidence.

Running a business is, of course, about more than just tax and filing, and when it comes day to day tasks such as hiring, firing, finding and strengthening sales leads, you won’t find a better environment than the UK. Thanks to its high average wealth per capita, the UK benefits from a pool of cash-rich customers and businesses alongside easy trade links to countries across Europe and the globe. What’s more, the UK’s education system is considered world-leading, a fact supported by a study by the World Population Review that placed it first globally. This means businesses can benefit from a pool of 30 million highly skilled workers, providing entrepreneurs with many high-quality candidates to choose between for any given role.

 

The UK economy is strong and stable

Several reasons make the UK an obvious choice to start a business, but if there was one core reason that entrepreneurs and investors can agree upon it would be the presence of the UK’s established yet pioneering economy, characterised by its strong growth economy and a stable political system.

Starting with the economy, the UK harbours thriving global and national businesses, particularly in financial services, with trade almost as large as the next two biggest exporters in the sector (the US and Switzerland) combined. Findings by the IMF revealed that of all advanced economies, the UK will be the fastest-growing by 2022. Investment banking multinational Goldman Sachs supports these findings, predicting a “striking” 7.8% growth in the UK economy, a growth rate outdoing even that of the US. Thanks to the stimulus measures implemented by the British government, the confidence imbued by an EU backed trade deal, a $1bn India trade deal, and the newly struck deal with Australia, the UK is well-positioned for business success.

In addition to these individual trade deals, the UK is joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) that spans a distinctly EU sized market of 500 million people. Joining this partnership will help refocus Britain’s trade relationships, giving us stronger strategic positioning to open lucrative trade links with Asia-Pacific nations while still maintaining strong links with Europe. This sends a strong signal of the UK’s ambition to build bilateral trade and relationships worldwide, not only with our neighbours but also around the globe, opening up a wealth of business opportunities for UK companies.

Finally, on this point, the UK’s long-established and enduring democratic government means UK policy-making procedure has developed over hundreds of years. Since 1997 a more scientific, evidence-based approach to policymaking has been consciously developed resulting in a democracy where decisions are informed by facts and expert opinion rather than by manipulated or cherry-picked data. What’s more, regulatory bodies in the UK must conduct regular reviews to evaluate and refine policies – particularly those which concern business. As such, these progressive policy-making practices of the UK’s regulatory system are studied by academics worldwide as a model for developing nations to emulate with the hopes to build similarly stable societies in which business and the economy can flourish.

 

The UK is outward-looking and free to trade with the world

After leaving the European Union, the UK is now free to establish its own tax, financial and legal regulations. As a result, Britain has been able to begin to build increasingly unified global trade networks and relationships, as well as focusing on reinvesting and maintaining relationships in Europe. The UK is now in a better position to react swiftly to global events, evidenced by the UK’s response to the COVID pandemic. Able to make confident and early decisions, the UK quickly and rapidly scaled up vaccine production and implemented an effective procurement strategy, securing a healthy vaccine supply, confidently able to set its own goals and criteria with a more aggressive strategy than would have been possible as a member of the EU. To date, the UK has administered 68 million doses of vaccine, well ahead of Germany who leads vacations among EU countries, who trail the UK by about 15 million vaccinations to date. Breaking the hold of the EU in favour of global vision is already allowing the UK to make leaps and bounds, improving opportunities for UK business.

 

The UK offers generous business visa programmes

The UK is highly competitive on the global stage for its generous and accessible visa options in comparison to other advanced economies. The UK Start-up visa is a very accessible option for entrepreneurs who wish to set up a new business in the UK without a significant amount of initial capital. To qualify for this visa, you must be sponsored by either a UK higher education institution or a Home Office-appointed endorsing body. This gives those applying for the visa the flexibility to choose an endorsing body that’s most convenient for them. Applications cost between £308 and £493 per person, and as long as your business idea is endorsed by an approved body and you have at least £945 in your bank account for the three months preceding your application, your application has a good chance to be eligible. This is a much lower bar to entry than many other visas, plus the visa accommodates certain family members to join you in the UK.

The UK’s Tier 1 (Investor) visa offers almost entirely unrestricted investment in any industry sector and any part of the UK you may choose with the visa able to be granted within three weeks of your application date.

Finally, the Innovator visa gives the best and brightest from around the globe the opportunity to start a novel and innovative business idea in the UK. If your business has not already been established in the UK through another visa, you must have a minimum of £50,000 available to invest and pay application fees between £966 and £1277.

These generous visa offerings make the UK highly attractive to international entrepreneurs seeking the next chapter in their careers. These visa options are part of the UK’s ‘Global Britain’ strategy that strongly signals that the UK is open and welcoming. The numbers certainly demonstrate the UK’s attractiveness for foreign investment: this year, 975 new projects were granted through the Tier 1 (Investor) visa alone.

InvestUK is on hand If you’re ready to make the UK your first or next global expansion destination. Contact our expert team today to find out more.

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