Published: 2 July 2021
Westminster City Council has launched a new investment service to encourage new and growing businesses to set up shop in central London
The service aims to attract sustainable investment to contribute to the creation of employment, assist London-based entrepreneurs to scale their businesses within Westminster and support the launch of new occupiers in the West End in the wake of the pandemic.
A key part of the service on offer is a tailored ‘concierge service’ that will provide local business intelligence, assistance navigating regulatory services, access to space and introductions to key sector players, amongst other business requirements.
The new service will capitalise on the area’s historic success and recent investment in infrastructure by working with partners including the area’s Business Improvement Districts, to build and shape Westminster’s business ecosystem. Westminster is home to 9% of all UK companies which have received equity investment over the last decade - 1,452 Westminster based companies - and has the highest density of scale-ups in London(1).
A number of significant high-growth sectors are already well represented in the borough, including business banking and financial services (19% of the UK’s high-growth population in this sector) and software-as-a-service (8% of the UK base). Westminster-based companies raised £1.4b in 2020 via 544 equity deals.
The service comes on the heels of a number of notable recent investments include G Network’s £130 million investment in upgrading Westminster’s full fibre broadband connections, the council’s £150 million Oxford Street District programme, The Elizabeth Line project and pedestrianisation of a large section of The Strand will bring an additional 60 million pedestrians to the West End per year.
The service launched this week (on 29 June) with an expert panel including Courtney Fingar, Editor in Chief of the Investment Monitor, Allen Simpson, Acting CEO of London & Partners, Henry Whorwood, Head of Research and Consultancy at Beauhurst, Professor Ute Stephan of King’s College Business School and new investor, The Londoner Hotel, represented by General Manager Charles Oak.
The panel event was hosted at the Edwardian Hampshire hotel at Leicester Square and online by the Lord Mayor Councillor Jonathan Glanz and Councillor Matthew Green, Cabinet Member for Business, Licensing and Planning.
Cllr Matthew Green said:
Westminster is the ideal destination for inward investment be it for fintech start-ups or retail pop-ups.
By launching the Westminster Investment service, we want to make Westminster the most business-friendly borough in London, offering investors the opportunity of not only millions of customers in consumer growth areas, but also giving companies access to one of the world’s most diverse and talented work forces.
We want businesses from all over the world to achieve their potential in Westminster and we will support investors through a single, entry point that will provide navigational support to investors as well as tailored account management, giving new entries both a warm welcome and a soft landing.
Ros Morgan, Chief Executive of Heart of London Business Alliance, commented:
The West End has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and attracting new businesses and supporting current occupiers is an essential part of getting back on our feet.
With centuries of history, heritage and culture, coupled with innovation and new ideas, there is tremendous opportunity in the West End. Westminster City Council's new Investment Service is an excellent scheme and we look forward to working alongside Council to welcome new businesses to this world-class destination.
(1) - The ScaleUp Index 2020, Beauhurst and the ScaleUp Institute