Why You Should Start A Business In Norwich

February 2019

Norwich may have once had a reputation for being something of a quaint, sleepy and colloquial backwater, but that worn-out stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth today.

A photo taken from Mousehold Heath on a Summer's day in the city of Norwich. The image shows many landmarks including the Cathedral, The Forum, City Hall and the Roman Catholic Cathedral.

In fact, as recent surveys and high-profile news articles will confirm, Norwich is one of the most popular places to live, study, work and do business in the UK. And let’s not forget the beaches and beautiful countryside, Norwich has a booming tourist economy, to say the least. With a growing population and vibrant and welcoming attitude to business and a healthy community spirit, Norwich has a lot to offer startups and growing businesses.

As the capital of Norfolk, the question should be: why wouldn’t you set up business here?

Transport Links

The transport links in Norwich are excellent. An international airport, a large and well-connected railway station, a dual carriageway all the way to Cambridge and the M11 are just some of the reasons why Norwich is very well situated, logistically speaking.

Many parts of the city centre are pedestrianised, making it ideal for shoppers. Much of the city centre road network is a one-way system, and there are plenty of car parks spread across the city. There are also plenty of Park & Ride schemes in operation too. The city is also served by a fast and frequent bus service and cycle lanes are dotted around as well. Whatever form of transport your customers prefer, you can be sure Norwich is accessible for them.

Business Help & Advice

When your business venture is getting underway you need as much help, support and advice that you can get. While many professional services cater to this need, there are also a number of start-up groups and enterprises that are specifically there to help you land on your feet and succeed.

There are plenty of business networking opportunities in Norwich to take advantage of too. The more people you can meet, the more people will find out about you and what you have to offer.

Economic Overview

Norwich is home to more than 8,000 business and employs more than 123,000 people. The city itself is one of the largest centres of employment in greater south-east England. Norwich contributes more than £3 billion a year to the national economy.

Norwich is also one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, housing a higher than average prime working-age population (18-49). The demand to live in the area is increasing and the household density is rising, especially in the surrounding towns and villages.

Norwich is also home to two universities, the University of East Anglia, a highly regarded university amongst students and employers alike, and the Norwich University of the Arts. Businesses will have the opportunity to retain promising talent from top universities – giving them the option to host graduate trainee schemes and fast-track to management.

The amalgamation of all these points ultimately means that Norwich provides an economic climate that is conducive to both business and career success.

What Businesses Are In Norwich Already?

Approximately half of Norwich’s employment stems from large, multinational companies – the largest being Aviva. There are also offices for Marsh (insurance) and retail shops from Apple (technology), Hugo Boss (fashion) and one of Norwich’s biggest retail attractions, Jarrolds, which is a family run department store that has been in the city since 1770.

"Norwich, England - May 17, 2012: Shoppers outside Jarrolds department store, on the corners of London Street and Exchange Street, Norwich. The name of Jarrold has been a fixture in Norwich for generations, as printers, publishers and store owners. This large department store is still family run and is situated in a building designed by the Norwich architect George Skipper in the early 20th century. (Overcast day with white sky.)"

The centre of Norwich is an eclectic mix of shops, cafés, offices and restaurants, including some high-profile chains such as Bella Italia, Wagamamas etc. As you move towards the train station there is a collection of accountancy firms, consultants, financial advisers and marketing agencies.

Some of the city’s most iconic shopping destinations are Castle Mall, Chapelfield and 900+-year-old Norwich market.

Norwich business market with castle in background against blue sky line

What Are The Stats?

When you consider these statistics and their implications, it’s clear that they paint a rosy picture of the future of Norwich. In nearly all aspects, Norwich is heading in the right direction to cultivate a truly stimulating business environment.

Finance & Funding

Once you have your idea you may be looking to find the money to get it started, or you may already have a few customers and you want to branch out – Norwich is host to a number of opportunities where you can access grants and funding to help make your dream a reality.

The Community

The one factor you will always be able to count on is the community spirit in Norwich. Take the ‘Norwich Lanes‘ for example, they are a collection of small high street shops that are tucked away from the trodden path of Chapelfield and St. Stephens. They’ve managed to collaboratively campaign for, and win the Great British High Street award.

"Norwich, England - May 15, 2012: People enjoying the cafes and shops in Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. The Norwich Lanes are narrow alleyways in the historic quarter of the city, which are lined with small independent shops and quirky cafes. (Overcast day with white sky.)"

You’ll always be able to connect with your target audience in Norwich, whether that be through open discussions of the area, the market, the football club or the various music and arts scenes across the city. The residents of Norwich are clued up on the area and any new business that ingratiates itself within the community will most likely be there to stay.

A Popular City!

Norwich has been mentioned a few times in the national press, here some articles from recent years:

Norwich is National!

Here are just a few of the local brands which have gone “national” – sound familiar?

Lovely Norwich Brands You Should Get to Know

If you want to see the top 100 hundred businesses in Norwich, have a peek at the EDP’s list here.

If you’re thinking about setting up a business in Norwich, please get in touch with our local Norwich office. We offer free business advice every month and can help you set things up properly from the start.

Source of data & statistics: https://www.norwich.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/2538/norwich_economic_strategy_2013-18.pdf

One thought on “Why You Should Start A Business In Norwich

  1. Jolanta Draus-Barini says:

    I found the information useful. Thank you.

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