Business centres are playing an essential role in the UK’s economic recovery, says leading financial commentator

• UK is now leading the world’s largest business centre provider
• Conference calls on Government to foster entrepreneurialism through
business centres and flexible space providers
(18 May 2011) Business centres which provide serviced offices and workspace facilities for small companies and start ups are playing a vital role in the UK’s economic recovery, according to leading financial commentator Justin Urquhart-Stewart.

Speaking at the Business Centre Association’s annual conference at Canary Wharf, Urquhart-Stewart, who co-founded Seven Investment Management in 2001 said:

“With around 400,000 new companies starting up in the UK every year, the Government really needs to wake up to using business centres to nurture entrepreneurial hotspots in strategic regions. Business centres are playing an essential role in our country’s economic recovery.

“I couldn’t have operated several of the businesses that I’ve been involved in without business centres. Having flexible office space is a godsend. But you also get the chance to network with other start ups. When you’re starting out on a new venture, it’s important not to feel alone.”

The UK now leads the world in business centre expertise and best practice. Domestically, the serviced office sector, which started taking off in the 1980s, the industry has now matured with a turnover of £1.2 billion, (figures represent 2104 fully serviced offices) accounting for roughly 32 percent of the £3.8 billion market worldwide.* (2010 figures supplied by broker, Instant)

There are some 2,000 serviced office locations across the country, and London is the world’s leading serviced office provider with more work stations than New York, Hong Kong or Tokyo.
Serviced offices have shown great resilience in the recession. Approximately 300,000 workstations are now available in serviced offices across the UK, a 50 per cent increase since 2006.

As well as hosting SMEs, flexible workspace locations are increasingly catering for Government agencies and charities as well as large corporate clients who require flexibility to adapt to fast changing market conditions.
In recent years, new business centres have sprung up which offer an alternative model to traditional serviced offices, with a range of facilities such as storage, workshops, studios meeting and cafe areas.
BCA chairman, Harry Platt, chief executive of Workspace Group said:
“The world of work is changing dramatically, and BCA members are doing all they can to foster entrepreneurialism in the UK.

“Networking is a key priority for our customers and many centres now provide shared spaces where digital entrepreneurs, creatives and sole workers can come together in a comfortable cafe type setting. The Business Centre sector has definitely come of age.”

• The BCA’s two-day conference at Canary Wharf marked the association’s 21st birthday and included presentations on Bribery Act, best practice, emerging IT and supporting technologies.

Jennifer Brooke

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