The Bristol region is an exciting place to do business, according to the majority of companies surveyed by BDO. The skilled workforce and proximity to customers are seen as key advantages for individual companies, while MSBs and the European Green Capital label are seen as key advantages for the regional economy.
Professional services firm BDO, in collaboration with The Bristol Post, recently released the results of the Bristol Business Pulse report, which identifies the opportunities and challenges faced by businesses in the Bristol area. The survey, which looks at the business demographics, funding, exporting, sustainability, mid- sized businesses and apprenticeships, concludes that “doing business in Bristol today is exciting.”
Of the companies that were surveyed, more than three-quarters consider their location to be either ‘very advantageous’ or ‘advantageous’, highlighting that the city is seen as an exciting city for businesses to reside. The main advantage to locate a city in Bristol, as seen by the companies, is the access to a skilled workforce, which is closely followed by the proximity to customer base.
While the vast majority sees the city as advantageous to their business, 7% say the city is actually hurting their business. According to them, the main reasons for this are transport and parking, named by 46% of these companies, followed by competition for good staff (17%) and poor electronic communications infrastructure (7%).
Nine out of ten companies in the survey believe midsized businesses (MSBs) will play a vital role in transforming Bristol’s economy in the coming years, with more than half (51%) saying they will play a more important role, just over a third (36%) saying they will play a much more important role, and 13% saying their role will remain the same. None of the companies think the role of MSBs will decrease in the coming years.
The main advantage of MSBs to the regional economy, as named by the surveyed companies, is their flexibility and agile nature, named by 77%, which allows them to react quickly and grasp growth opportunities as they arise. Their ability to make decisions quickly is also seen as a key advantage (by 67%), which can be assigned to the fact that they do not have multiple levels of management that lager companies have.
European Green Capital
Not only do the companies questioned see a competitive edge in the local MSBs, the fact that Bristol has been named European Green Capital is also seen as a key boost to growth. While the label does not provide any direct investment, previous winners have noted significant business investment and other economic benefits following their win of the award. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of companies believe the status is a significant or very significant achievement for the city, with the city so far attracting attracted nearly £2 million in cash and £2 million ‘in kind’ from 19 organisations.