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Is Essex a good location for start ups?

Is Essex a good location for start ups?- WIS Accountancy
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    The county of Essex enjoys an enviable position in the prosperous South East of England. With its excellent transport links and diverse mix of urban, rural and coastal areas, it’s easy to understand why it has one of the fastest growing populations in the UK*. But aside from being a good place to live, it is also a prime location for early stage businesses.

    Essex has a lot to offer aspiring start ups, such as close proximity to the capital, a growing economy, a relatively affordable cost of living, a wealth of business support and investment to support future economic growth.

    To the team at WIS, it comes as no surprise that aspiring entrepreneurs flock to Essex. As accountants in Chelmsford, we can’t think of a better county to do business in outside of the big smoke.

    We provide accountancy services throughout Essex and never pass up a chance to recommend it as a great location for a start up.

    If you are looking to move into the area, then read on for our Top 5 reasons to choose Essex for business success.

    A prime spot for new business

    Essex has always been a hub for entrepreneurs and forward-thinking companies. To prove that we’re not just biased, here are some statistics!

    Despite the pandemic, the number of registered companies in the Essex increased by 3.4% in 2021, to 141,948 companies in total, according to Inform Direct*.

    In the same report, a league table of new company registrations in 2021 places Essex 5th out of 37 regions, and 4th in the table of overall number of businesses.

    This is compelling evidence of the confidence that new businesses have in the area. So what is it about Essex that attracts so many entrepreneurs, start ups and small businesses?

    Check out our accounting services for start ups in Colchester!

    Our Top 5 reasons why Essex is a great place for business success

    1) Proximity to London

    Essex forms part of the commuter belt with excellent transport links to the capital. Journeys by train take as little as 30-40 minutes, while (if the traffic is on your side!) you can drive from Chelmsford to London in just over an hour.

    This is ideal for those workers seeking a slightly slower and more affordable pace of life, plus more space than the overcrowded city can offer.

    From a trading point of view, being close to one of the world’s biggest business and financial centres is obviously a plus point. For tech start ups in particular, being close to London significantly increases their opportunities, the capital being the biggest tech hub in the world outside of Silicon Valley.

    2) Investment in the economy

    Essex County Council have a strong vision to support future economic growth in the county. In April 2022 it announced The Renewal Fund (ERF), which will invest £100 million in regeneration and growth projects over the next 20 years.

    The initiative sets out the intention to nurture the growth sectors of construction, clean energy, advanced manufacturing and engineering, digi-tech and life sciences. This is great news for tech businesses, which made up 20% of new start up ventures in 2021.

    This commitment to ‘levelling up’ the local economy, developing growth sectors and attracting talent provides another compelling reason for entrepreneurs to consider Essex.

    3) Cheaper than London

    You don’t need us to tell you that London is prohibitively expensive! While property in Essex is on average 30% more than the rest of the country, compared to those in the capital, they are a steal.

    Also, properties are more diverse and generally larger, appealing to the growing number of employees choosing to work from home and improve their quality of life.

    With the rapidly rising costs across the country, Essex at least offers a more comfortable existence than London, with the cost of living estimated to be more than 30% lower in Colchester, for example.

    4) A young, highly skilled workforce

    Essex is populated by a high percentage of young professionals and families, making it a dynamic and economically active county – great news for service and retail based start ups.

    The working population is well qualified, with over 50% educated to A-level standard or higher. The workforce is skilled, with a whopping 47.5% of employees working in professional jobs.

    The University of Essex is ranked in the top 30 universities in the country, turning out bright young minds keen to get a start on their career path – ideal for a start up looking to employ interns or talented, junior employees.

    The university is also number one in the UK for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), a scheme to facilitate partnerships between businesses and talented graduates.

    This is an amazing opportunity to bring talent into your business and gain a competitive advantage.

    5) Small business support

    A start up has a much higher chance of survival if it is part of a supported business community.

    Fortunately, local businesses and start ups have access to a wealth of support and resources in Essex, such as:

    • Colbea is a funded not-for-profit organisation in Colchester offering office space, free support and training to start ups.
    • Best Growth Hub can help you find the right business advice and help you find funding.
    • Backing Business Essex (funded by Essex County Council) offers free business advice, mentoring and start up loans.
    • The University of Essex provides guidance on free funding for innovative small businesses. It is also home to the Knowledge Gateway park and Innovation Centre.
    • The Innovation Centre (based on the Knowledge Gateway research and technology parkat the university) is a thriving hub for start ups and entrepreneurs, providing office space and support services.


    Essex has so much to recommend it as a place for a new start up venture. It’s affordable, ideally located, diverse, economically active, forward-looking and has a young, well educated population. What’s more, there is a lot of government funded and free support available to set you on the path to success.

    Every successful business prioritises good financial management. If you are looking for a talented and inspiring accountant for your start up in Essex, the please contact the team at WIS Accountancy.

    We work out of our Chelmsford office and provide accountancy services and business support to early stage businesses. We’d be delighted to welcome you to the region, help you find your financial footing and share the benefit of our financial and business experience to ensure your start up thrives.


    • varbes. 2021. Population of Essex. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 2 August 2022].
    • Inform Direct, 2022. Company Formations in 2021: Essex. [infographic] Available at: <
    • Nomis, 2022. Labour Market Profile – Essex. [online] ONS. Available at: <> [Accessed 2 August 2022].
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