The City of Southampton has been found to be among the most business-friendly cities in the UK. In a list compiled by Management Today, a magazine reporting on the highs and lows of the British business economy since 1966, Southampton came 15th in the ranking of 21 cities outside of London.
The magazine measured each city in the UK against several factors, including productivity, size of talent pool, strength of innovation, and rate of growth, with a shortlist of 21 ranked by a panel of expert judges which included Paul Swinney from the Centre for Cities, an independent urban policy research unit.
In the article which outlined the reasons for the rankings given, judges noted that the city’s steady growth over the past ten years has helped in to secure its position as ‘the economic powerhouse of England’s South coast‘. The work of Barclays’ Network Eagle Lab, which is based in the Marlands shopping centre and describes itself as the ‘city’s first co-working space for creative, digital and knowledge-based start-ups‘, is praised in the article for supporting and improving Southampton’s business-orientated environment.
The success of this project could be down to an investment of £1.5 million from Southampton City Council, which helped to renovate storage space into the co-working space that exists today. It also notes the impressive GVA (gross value added – the measure of goods and services in an area or industry) of the city, which grew by a solid 2.6% in the second quarter of last year, and employment numbers, which are up by 1.9%.
Manchester tops the list, with its status as a graduate hub and its successful Foreign Direct Investment numbers celebrated by judges. Second is Bristol, with the article highlighting the fact that 54% of the local workforce are educated to at least degree level. Reading and Bournemouth also made the list, coming in at fifth and seventeenth respectively.