UK business centres have a “vibrant” customer base of high-growing SMEs collectively contributing £2bn to the UK economy.
That’s the key finding from a report commissioned by the Business Centre Association (BCA) which provides the first authoritative measures of the size of the market and the factors affecting its performance.
About 80,000 small and medium-sized enterprises are based in UK businesses centres.
The report says the flexibility centres offer in terms of workspace and facilities make then the “natural home” for businesses with major growth ambition.
Jennifer Brooke, chief executive of the BCA, said: “Business centres are uniquely placed to respond to the evolving demands of innovative companies with growth ambition.
“The report also shows that the perceived premium for flexibility is a misnomer with business centres representing better value than traditional leases.”
Brent Woods, chief executive of The Media Centre , which is a BCA member and operates four buildings in Huddersfield town centre, said: “Business centres offer a strong network effect which contribute to their outstanding value to growing businesses.
“The Media Centre has seen a steady rise in occupancy by high growth creative and digital businesses over the past 18 months and we expect many of our occupiers to double in size in the year ahead. They reflect the 80,000 SMEs nationwide that occupy business centres and account for 33% of new jobs in the economy.”
The report found that centres such as The Media Centre are at the forefront of enterprise and entrepreneurship – providing a home for businesses and creating communities in which businesses can flourish.
Their flexibility meant they were uniquely placed to respond quickly and adapt to changing demand from small business and corporate occupiers.
The report, which was undertaken by IPD and Snapdragon Consulting, looks for the first time at the distinguishing features of the business centre market.
It examines the growth of the industry, the facilities offered, how charging structures work and the demand from occupiers.
The Media Centre is a not-for-profit organisation with a remit to support business growth, employment opportunities and talent development for the creative and digital industries in Huddersfield.
It manages four properties in the town centre providing workspace and support services to more than 150 SMEs.
It also works across Huddersfield’s business community to deliver its social mission.
All profit generated by its commercial activity is reinvested back into the delivery of its social enterprise remit.