Why the North of England is perfect for SME’s

North of England

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While we might be a bit biased, given our Northern location, recent facts underscore the increasing recognition of the North of England as a prime destination for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) aiming to establish themselves or expand.

According to the Office for National Statistics, a 4% increase in SMEs was recorded in the North of England in 2023 compared to a 1% increase across the entire UK in the same period.

Historically, the South of England has been perceived as a more attractive destination for businesses and SMEs. Nevertheless, numerous reasons exist as to why the North has the edge.

We’ve outlined five reasons why the North of England is considered ideal for SMEs:

  1. Thriving business ecosystem:

The North of England boasts a thriving business ecosystem with a diverse range of industries. From the thriving tech sector in Manchester to financial services in West Yorkshire, health capabilities in Leeds and Huddersfield, and the digital hub in Newcastle, the North offers a diverse set of opportunities for SMEs. A strong history of entrepreneurship and innovation in the region makes it an ideal place for businesses to thrive.

  1. Access to talent:

One of the key advantages of locating your SME in the North is the access to a skilled and diverse workforce. Leading universities in cities and towns like Huddersfield, Manchester, Leeds, and Sheffield produce a steady stream of graduates, making it easier for businesses to find talent in various fields. The cost of living in the North is also lower compared to London, making it an attractive proposition for potential employees.

  1. Affordability:

The cost of office, lab, and manufacturing space in the North of England is significantly lower than in the capital and Southeast. This affordability allows SMEs to allocate their resources more efficiently, invest in growth, and achieve a higher return on investment.

  1. Transport and connectivity:

The North’s strategic location offers excellent transport links both domestically and internationally. Major cities like Manchester and Leeds have well-connected airports and are at the heart of the UK’s rail and road network. This connectivity facilitates easier access to clients, suppliers, manufacturing capability, and markets, thereby increasing business opportunities. The current £3.9bn investment in the Trans Pennine Upgrade will speed up rail connectivity and improve the network over the next decade.

  1. Quality of Life:

The North of England offers a high quality of life, with vibrant towns and cities, beautiful countryside, excellent schools, and a strong sense of community. A better work-life balance and lower stress levels can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

If you are looking for the perfect location to grow and innovate, considering the North of England will open up opportunities such as access to talent, affordability, excellent connectivity, as well as a supportive business environment.

Why base your SME at the 3M BIC

If you are contemplating establishing your business in the North of England, you might want to consider the 3M BIC, and here’s why:

Business support and networking:

The centre provides SMEs with access to a wealth of business support resources, including events and networking. These opportunities help SMEs grow, refine strategies, and establish valuable connections in the local business community.

Academic expertise:

The 3M BIC is affiliated with the University of Huddersfield, providing SMEs with access to academic expertise, research collaborations, and student talent. This academic connection can lead to innovative solutions and a competitive edge in the market.

Technology for product development:

What sets us apart from other similar centres is our dedicated innovation and technology team, comprised of product designers, technicians, and business development managers. Our facilities, such as 3D printers in both metals and polymers, X-Ray machines, and microscopes, can support all stages of product development, whether you’re creating a new product from scratch or refining an existing one.

Prime location:

Huddersfield’s strategic location in the heart of the North of England makes it an ideal base for businesses looking to tap into the region’s opportunities. Being in close proximity to major cities like Leeds and Manchester allows for easy access to clients, partners, markets, and transport links.

Flexible workspace:

The 3M BIC offers a range of office solutions, from co-working spaces to small, medium, and large offices, as well as lab space. This flexibility allows SMEs to scale their operations as needed and adapt to changing business requirements without the burden of long-term leases.

If you’re considering establishing your SME in the North of England, check out our currently available space at the 3M BIC or get in touch to arrange a visit.


If you’re considering basing your SME in the North of England, check out our current available space at the 3M BIC or get in touch to arrange a visit.

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