It may be a property market cliché to focus on Location. Location. Location. When it comes to moving your business to the UK and choosing a place to set-up your company, it is an important consideration. In this article, we will share some tips on (i) how a company has recently done it (ii) how companies in our network choose the location, and (iii) the perspective in this year 2020.

The NTT Move

When I first ventured to Degenham, it was to view the site of a chicken shop that my cousin was investing in. Not that he asked for help, but having helped manage a few food and beverage outlets, I tagged along curios to see how the area would be from a business perspective. Despite it having slightly less of the hustle and bustle of other parts of East London, it proved to have potential. It was his first commercial investment into another industry after many years of working as a mechanical engineer in Scotland and moving back to London, and the area proved to be lucrative.

Rewind a few years ago, I was invited to visit one of NTT’s Security Operations Centre (SOC) as part of my work in Cybersecurity regulation. It was one of my first times visiting a SOC and I was delighted to find that the layout I knew of theoretically, was effective in practice, a vast centre with rows of engineers performing different functions of threat monitoring, threat analysis, and triaging.

So when NTT set up it’s data centre in Degenham last week, on the back of the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (we can perhaps expect something similar from the UKSFTA – read our Blog for updates) it felt like the right time to look at location considerations.

Degenham as you may know has enough space for a capacity for NTT’s data centre which is around 25,000 square metres. It is also about 8 miles from the Docklands, the digital hub. Hence there is proximity to digital partners and clients, and ability to attract the digital talent of a predicted 100 to travel slightly further east.

Company Move

So how have companies in our network chosen the location when they set up a business in the UK? Proximity to customers, suppliers, talent is a key consideration. However, factors such as space, technology and infrastructural development, the kind of support network available, be it funding or local community support, personal history to a location, all play a part.

When I set up the branch of my technology company, access to the food tech as well as supplier networks in the Midlands, namely Birmingham and Manchester was important. However, we also had to consider Cardiff, and Aberdeen because of high per capita spending power by end-consumers for the businesses that we were working with. Then there was the question of attracting talent in London, and Scotland for Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things. So Farnborough was a consideration since it had some food supplier networks, but was also proximally closer to London.

Perspective for 2020

The pandemic makes these considerations difficult, but also easier in some perspective. For instance, now there are more possibilities to work remotely with your network and they can be based in more places than the previous location-bound considerations. Like the characters in an episode of ‘Yes Prime Minister’ not wanting to move out of London, it is easier to not consider moving the business and yourself to a particular region first while the pandemic wave and general Brexit-related and other uncertainties take centre stage. Then it begs the question, if you are in Singapore or elsewhere do you need to move at all to the UK? The short answer is yes (and not just because we are in this organisation). For many parts of an organisation’s work, being closer to the eventual location you need to be, regulatory implications, time zones all makes the difference. And once this pandemic hopefully blows over, you would have the benefit of using this time to plan early. So maybe it’s time to repeat the mantra Location. Location. Location.

This post has been written by Karthikayini Senthilkumaran, Co-Founder and UK Lead for EkkBaz Pte Ltd, on a voluntary basis for UKSGBridge Limited, and represents her views only. The copyright for this post subsists with UKSGBridge Limited, and parts or the whole of this post may be reproduced with permission from UKSGBridge Limited.    

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Published On: December 20th, 2020 / Categories: Brexit, Case Studies, Events, Investment, Opportunities In UK, Technology, UK Law, UKSGBridge /