London Remains Top Choice for Growth for Overseas Business Investors

Please note: In April 2011 Think London merged with Visit London and Study London to become London & Partners. These archive press releases are here for information only.

70% of all inward investment in the UK capital driven by SMEs

Small and medium sized enterprises are continuing to drive new inward investment in London, having made up almost three quarters of all new business investment in the UK capital in 2009. According to recent figures released by Think London, the official foreign direct investment agency for London, SMEs accounted for 70% of all new inward investment last year.

The number of overseas SMEs expanding their operations in London over the last 12 months has in part been facilitated by Think London's Touchdown London service. Offered in conjunction with serviced office provider Avanta, Touchdown London enables overseas companies to take advantage of up to 12 months free office space and facilities, along with the use of a dedicated advisor to support firms through the process of establishing a presence in the UK's capital.

Since the start of 2009 more than 35 new overseas businesses have benefited from the Touchdown London offer and been able to set up operations in London. Early survey results from a sample of Touchdown London clients indicate "Cutting the time to market" and "Reducing the cost of initial market entry" as being two of the most important factors in their decision to try the Touchdown London initiative.

The survey also revealed that eight out of 10 companies are fully operational in London less than two weeks after signing. Many claimed that as a result of the scheme they had saved between 1-3 months of executive time that otherwise would have been spent looking for suitable office accommodation.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The opportunities for overseas businesses in the capital are unparalleled. London offers a combination of a highly skilled workforce, lower commercial property costs and a diverse social and leisure scene making this one of the most exciting, innovative and successful business locations in the world. We are investing heavily in our infrastructure and with the London Olympics around the corner there never has been a better time to come to London."

David Alberto, Managing Director of Avanta, the London-focused serviced office space provider, said: “We have witnessed a tremendous growth in the number of international businesses taking space in our centres during 2009 and, as a result of supporting the Think London initiative for more than two years, it is satisfying to see the successes and benefits that the scheme has already provided.

Notes to Editors

Definition of SME used: A SME (Small and Medium sized Enterprise) is a company of 1-9 employees, with a turnover growth rate of less than 100% within three years.

Touchdown London:

Touchdown London is a start-up service dedicated to overseas businesses who wish to establish themselves in London. It has been created and is managed by Think London, the official foreign direct investment agency for London, and is offered exclusively to Think London clients. It is hosted by Avanta, the serviced office provider.

A recent survey among Touchdown London users and former users has demonstrated that 8 out of 10 clients are very satisfied with the service. More specifically:

  • 8 out of 10 save a minimum of £2,000 in the first three months, and 4 out of 10 up to £4,000
  • 8 out of 10 started off in less than two weeks from signing, 4 out of 10 in less than one week;
  • 7 out of 10 said Touchdown London’s prime locations helped them connect with more clients than anticipated;
  • 6 out of 10 have more time to build the business.

About the Mayor of London:

Created in 2000, the role of the Mayor of London is to promote economic development and wealth creation, social development, and the improvement of the environment, in the UK's capital city. The Mayor chairs several boards that deliver services for London including the transport and police authorities and sets out plans and policies covering: transport, planning and development, housing, economic development, regeneration culture, health and the environment.

About Avanta:

Avanta was formed in 2004 by David Alberto, previously with Regus and former managing director at MWB Business Exchange. The company offers highly flexible, unbranded office space, with advanced and competitively price technology, tailor made to meet the requirements of the occupier. In the UK it currently manages more than 630,000 sq ft of office space in prime locations in London, the Thames Valley, Manchester and Edinburgh. Avanta’s first international business centre in New Delhi, India, opened in September 2008 and a further two centres are now open in Mumbai.


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