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The City of London

The top locations in the UK for billion turnover businesses

By LLM Reporters on 10th September 2021

Seeing success in your business is always going to be a main focus so that you can concentrate on continuing your passion, no matter how big or small said business is, but some have managed to take their companies into whole new leagues by hitting the billion-pound mark.

Those hoping to hit the same goals will no doubt be looking to the big guns to see how success comes for them and listening out for pearls of wisdom on how we can embody the billionaire lifestyle and habits. Whether it’s waking up at 5am in the morning, following a strict routine or being comfortable with taking (calculated) risks, we all try to follow in the footsteps of success.

As wonderful as internal scrutiny and improvement are, do external factors like location play a part in businesses booming into £1bn turnover?

Cloud accounting firm Ember conducted research using data from Companies House looking at the top locations in the UK for billion turnover businesses to see whether location does play a part in the success and growth of business revenues.

How many businesses in the UK had a £1bn turnover?

Interestingly, 2017 was a fantastically successful year for businesses turning the corner into over a £1bn turnover, with 51 of the 622,713 companies that had been incorporated going on to report an income in excess of £1 billion in their most recent accounts. 2016 was also an amazing year for businesses, with 41 out of 646,703 such companies created also turned over £1 billion in their accounts.

Ember co-founder, Daniel Hogan commented on the study expressing that ‘It’s a phenomenal achievement for any company to reach a turnover figure as high as one billion pounds. And it’s even more remarkable to see that 51 companies have been able to do so since just 2017 alone. We have already seen that 2020 was a record year for the number of companies created in the UK, so hopefully, plenty of those founded in the past year will go on to join the billion-pound club as well.’

business people
Cloud accounting firm Ember conducted research using data from Companies House looking at the top locations in the UK for billion turnover businesses to see whether location does play a part in the success and growth of business revenues.

Here is a table of the quantity of successful businesses from in the past decade.

YearNumber of companies incorporatedCompanies incorporated with £1bn+ turnover in most recent accountsCompanies incorporated with £100m+ turnover in most recent accounts
2011440,63820191
2012479,54525213
2013509,62831221
2014573,65832274
2015598,63035294
2016646,70341268
2017622,71351263
2018657,86830239
2019678,41916102
2020758,01216

After the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, it seems inspiration has struck and passions have been ignited, with the first quarter of 2021 seeing nearly 100 new businesses created every hour, totalling 211,368 companies incorporated by Companies House in January-March this year. To put it in perspective, that’s 2,349 brand new businesses each day, or 98 every single hour.

So, does location play a part in the likelihood of these businesses having a £1 billion turnover? Here are the top locations in the UK for billion turnover business.

London has lived up to its reputation of being a business hub in the UK, with 79 companies with UK addresses in London and over a billion-pound turnover and 34 in the Square Mile

London and The City of London

London has lived up to its reputation of being a business hub in the UK, with 79 companies with UK addresses in London and over a billion-pound turnover and 34 in the Square Mile.

However, what makes London and The City of London such a fantastic hub of business is its accessible and strong infrastructure. Having a good foundation of connection makes for fantastic business opportunities, and London excels at this by having six international airports, 10 major underground transport systems in addition to an underground rail system, making opportunities for networking and business growth not just possible, but easy.

Additionally, with a large and diverse talent pool and strong connections to the world, London and The City of London houses the headquarters of many global businesses. Furthermore, if footfall is necessary to the success of your business this is ideal in London where commuting is key and the large population ensures footfall, making it no wonder that businesses in London seem to thrive.

Berkshire and Cheshire

London is not the only location for success in the UK, as Berkshire and Cheshire have seven £1 billion+ turnover businesses each, being the most successful counties for business outside of the capital.

Outside of London, Berkshire has the strongest local economy which makes it an attractive location for those who are ambitious and businesses minded.

Alongside excellent transport links, Berkshire also thrives in investment industries (private equity and Foreign Direct Investment), recruitment and property market activity.

Cheshire is also well known for its successful economy with businesses flourishing in pharmaceuticals, automotive, financial services and manufacturing. With Cheshire being so close to Manchester and Liverpool in addition to two major airports, businesses benefit from connection links that allow economic growth and longevity.

Surrey and the West Midlands

Next, we have Surrey and the West Midlands both counting six firms that turnover more than £1 billion.

Known for its vibrancy and cultural ambience, Surrey is the heart of tourism for those looking to enjoy the UK without the fast-paced hustle and bustle found in cities like London and Manchester.

North Surrey and the City Centre in particular houses Surrey’s financial district, including the headquarters of Westminster Savings, alongside the development and growth of commercial businesses in the area also.

The West Midlands is home to the largest number of roles outside of London, supporting more than 260,000 jobs within the financial services sector across more than 45,000 companies, contributing massively to the UK economy.

In addition to this, the West Midlands is best known for its luxury manufacturers such as Rover cars and Cadbury World in the historic Bournville village. It is also home to many top universities, colleges and cultural institutions, setting a firm foundation and ethos of knowledge, growth and success.

The West Midlands
The West Midlands is home to the largest number of roles outside of London, supporting more than 260,000 jobs within the financial services sector across more than 45,000 companies, contributing massively to the UK economy

Bristol, Hertfordshire, West Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester

Bristol, Hertfordshire, West Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester each contain four businesses that have a turnover of more than £1 billion, making them the last few top locations in the UK that experience phenomenal business success.

Bristol embodies the close-knit feel that not many cities can captivate, with its creative industries working and networking together across various sectors. This close, village feel establishes ease when building good connections, which in turn allow businesses to flourish. Additionally, Bristol is well known for offering affordable office spaces as well as having easy access to motorways which makes Bristol an ideal home for company start-ups across multiple sectors.

Greater Manchester is also an ideal business hub, being home to many successful global businesses especially in the retail sector, including Misguided – an online retail store bringing in a revenue of £202 million in March 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, in which businesses were heavily affected.

Hertfordshire and West Yorkshire are also fantastic when it comes to business growth with Hertfordshire being known as a wealthy county, which not only means inhabitants have a larger disposable income but it also breeds success across property sectors with some of the most expensive houses selling for around £1 million in areas such as Radlett and Harpenden.

A collaborative work ethic is also prominent in West Yorkshire with investment into businesses being a priority, especially when it comes to the manufacturing industry. The manufacturing industry contributes to 9.2% of the total UK manufacturing sector, with the most successful being food products, metals and metal products and beverages and tobacco.