The business community in Peterborough fares considerably better than average in the UK. The reasons are varied, including a fortuitous location as well as focused efforts by city leaders. For several reasons, the economic forecast for Peterborough is strong.
This is easily read by its current economic output (GVA), employment statistics and other empirically identifiable factors such as business start-ups. But certain geographic and cultural features naturally lend themselves to creating a robust economic future, as do initiatives by political and business leaders that are strongly focused on growth. The city weathered the 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 recessions with better-than-average business failure and unemployment statistics.
By 2012, the number of new business start-ups numbered 1381 and in 2013 it was 1503. While the city historically pegged its fortunes to a handful of industries (brick-making, transportation, etc.) the economy of the 21st century is one characterised by diversity, innovative small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) and a handful of large, global businesses (including an IKEA distribution facility). According to the Peterborough Telegraph, the company that currently is the biggest employer in the city is BGL Group, one of the UK’s largest consumer insurance and financial services firms.
What stimulates this diversity of enterprise, resilience and growth? Consider the following constellation of forces driving the emergence of Peterborough as a growth capital for business, population and development:
Additionally, Peterborough’s population skews towards youthful (the average age is lower than that of the UK overall) and slightly more diverse. While lacking its own major university and with a current outflow of students to universities outside the city, a “multiversity” initiative brings educational resources from a range of institutions to provide knowledge that is targeted to local business needs. Also, the Sustainable Community Strategy takes a measured, strategic approach to land use, preservation and development over the next 50 years. As should be clear, this is not accidental or happenstance growth. A confluence of good geography, history and political and commercial leadership focus on making the region attractive to businesses, people, institutions and investment.