The island city of Portsmouth, UK is the second largest in Hampshire and has so much going for it as a place to live, work or start a business. It is bursting with opportunities and entrepreneurial spirit – the team at Smooth Accounting should know as we’re based here in Portsmouth!
Portsmouth is one of the best cities in the UK to start a business, due to its status as an international port, location in the prosperous South, growing economy, support for new business and good travel connections.
At Smooth Accounting, we’re vocal in championing our home city and are always keen to welcome new businesses to the area.
Here’s our rundown on why Portsmouth should be high on on your list for consideration as a budding entrepreneur. If you’re looking for accounting advice to get your new company off the ground then please get in touch, we’d be happy to chat.
Studies highlight Portsmouth as the place to be for new businesses
Accountants like numbers and statistics, so here are a few that float our boat.
There are a few high profile reports published in the past couple of years that highlight Portsmouth as a great place for new businesses. In 2020, it topped Instant Offices‘ annual entrepreneurial activity index, being named the most entrepreneurial city in the country, beating even London.
In a separate report by Paymentsense, it was ranked the sixth best city in the country to “turn lockdown hobbies into successful side hustles“. I mean, I know we may a little biased, but this level of endorsement is surely enough to place Portsmouth high up on any budding entrepreneurs list of desirable locations.
To quote a third report from finance firm Capital on Tap, a record number of 1,845 new companies launched in the Portsmouth area in 2020, and that figure grew again in 2021, with 1,970 new businesses registered across the region, 778 of which were in the city (source Office for National Statistics).
Given the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, this is encouraging proof that economic confidence is still high in the area.
What makes Portsmouth one of the top UK cities for business?
Portsmouth is an important global centre and is home to over 12,000 businesses, ranging from high profile, multinational corporations to thriving SMEs.
What are the dominant industries in Portsmouth?
As befitting its status as an historic maritime city, Portsmouth is an important hub for the marine, aerospace, engineering, manufacturing and defence industries, with companies like BAE Systems being major employers.
It is also a growing hub for the creative industries, with many digital, software and design companies launching in the past few years. The hospitality and tourism industries also play a vital role in the local economy, with the city attracting millions of visitors each year.
Has there been economic growth in Portsmouth?
Portsmouth is in the top 25 UK GVA cities and has seen unprecedented economic growth in the past few years. It is shaping up to be one of the fastest growing economies in the UK, thanks to an intensive period of investment.
The city is soon to see billions of pounds worth of regeneration and development, notably Portsmouth International Port’s Masterplan which is predicted to grow the local economy in the next ten years by 89%.
There is further government-backed redevelopment underway, too, with Portsmouth City Council’s Economic Development and Regeneration Strategy seeking to:
“Make Portsmouth Britain’s premier waterfront technology and innovation city – a great place to invest, learn, live, work and visit and the most attractive place for starting, growing or relocating a business.”
Portsmouth is a great place to live as well as work
If you’re looking for a base to put down business roots, you might as well make it one of the most interesting and FUN cities in the south. Portsmouth is a city full of character and adored by its residents for its sheer diversity and coastal location.
The Cascades shopping centre and Gunwharf Quays offer all the retail therapy you could ever need, and a day out in Southsea feels like a mini holiday! For history buffs, there’s tons of heritage to uncover at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard and Charles Dickens’ birthplace museum.
There is plenty of culture and nightlife in the city, along with many hip bars and restaurants. Then there’s the obvious benefits of living by the water, with loads of nearby locations to jump on your SUP and be back at your desk in time for the afternoon push.
Oh, and to top it off, the A3 is just minutes away leading directly into central London. The journey takes approximately an hour and half, with the train taking around the same length of time, but with the added benefit of trolley service.
OK, we are definitely biased, but Portsmouth really is like the best of UK cities all rolled into one.
How to start a new business in Portsmouth
So you’ve decided to start a business in Portsmouth – congratulations! If you’re considering your next step then here are a couple of pointers. And, if need further advice, (especially from when it comes to finances), then don’t forget that Smooth are right on your doorstep!
Superb new business support in Portsmouth
Portsmouth City Council have a team dedicated to supporting startups in the area and have fantastic resources, details of which can be found online. Here you will find great advice on subjects such as funding, relocation, licencing, networking groups and business rates.
To quote Cllr Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development:
“Our economic growth team is available to support and grow new businesses at every step, from finding them space in the city to work or trade, putting on free start-up sessions, match-funding new business ideas through our Crowdfunder UK partnership along with Shaping Portsmouth, and helping with grants and funding. We focus on supporting businesses and individuals to not just survive but thrive.”
What’s more, the council also manage three Business Enterprise Centres providing flexible and affordable office space to new companies.
Shaping Portsmouth is an organisation comprised of business owners, company executives and local authority representatives. They were formed to facilitate growth and development in business, education and the community and offer programs and support for start-ups.
We are so lucky to have such forward-thinking and business-friendly support from Portsmouth City Council, yet another reason to recommend the city as an ideal place for new business.
What are the best places in Portsmouth to start a business?
The city centre offers a wide variety of commercial property and office lets, but if the city is out of your budget then consider one of the surrounding areas.
Portsmouth is densely populated and approaching 250,000 people, so there is plenty of opportunity for retail and service-based businesses in suburbs like Copnor, Cosham and Hilsea, as well as more affordable office space.
Smooth Accounting: proud to be supporting businesses in Portsmouth
As you can probably tell, we’re proud of our hometown and can’t think of a place we’d rather do business. We count many sole traders, limited companies and larger companies as our happy clients and we support them at every stage of their business journey.
If you are a proactive and ambitious entrepreneur looking to move to the area, then Smooth Accounting could be your ideal partner. We’d be happy to tailor an accounting package to suit your needs, with services including tax, bookkeeping, VAT and payroll.
Our passion is to help our clients master their finances so that they can fulfil their business potential and we’d love to do the same for you. Get in touch with us to book a free discovery call and let’s go from there.