Marketing expert Amy Bull presents a quick look at what’s available for new businesses in the city
PETERBOROUGH is the UK’s second fastest growing city. In 2014 more than 1,900 start-up businesses were registered in Peterborough, making it a record year for the city.
Steve Bowyer, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough, the city’s economic development company, said, “Clearly we’d like to see even more start-up companies thrive in Peterborough, that’s why we offer a range of tailored support. From the New Business Network created specifically for new and young companies, to the Ignite Peterborough programme, a bespoke support service for young and aspiring entrepreneurs in the city. Opportunity Peterborough is here to help local companies and it’s fantastic to see the take up of these services increasing.”
Events and community
Networking communities in the city are thriving with various regular groups such as Peterborough Does Business, The Business Club and The Creative Company to name a few.
Digital People in Peterborough (or DPiP) is a monthly meet up in local coffee shop, Bewitched, for collaborative engagement and knowledge sharing through digital technology. Each meeting features two talks from businesses operating in the digital realm, a chance to learn something new and become part of the digital community, the number of registered members currently sits at 309.
Peterborough Bondholders is a network of local businesses in Peterborough; they run regular networking events and an annual dinner held in Peterborough’s beautiful cathedral, as well as sharing news and successes, aiding and encouraging business growth in the city.
The Peterborough B2B Exhibition occurs annually in October and sees over 600 businesses in attendance, offering an opportunity to exhibit, network or listen to one of the guest speakers.
Workspaces and incubators
There are a number of office spaces within vibrant Peterborough’s city centre and in the districts that surround it, from ultra-modern to prestigious buildings full of character.
Priestgate Business Centre combine the beauty of a prestige building with modern elements such as gigabit broadband with flexible serviced office packages. Virtual office facilities allow you to use an address and telephone number of one of the offices without actually occupying one of them.
Future Business Centre offer affordable and flexible incubation spaces with excellent facilities that include informal meeting areas, furniture, gigabit connectivity and free support activities and events.
Eco Innovation Centre, home to Ignite Peterborough is another ideal spot for start-ups; the offices and co-working spaces are available on flexible terms and offer shared kitchen facilities, telephone answering and diversion service as well as discounted rates on conference rooms.
Not strictly a traditional accelerator, Ignite Peterborough, delivered by Opportunity Peterborough and Peterborough Regional College actively assists and supports young entrepreneurs in the city, offering them mentoring support from local experts and sponsors, business advice and guidance and co-working space.
In a similar vein, although Opportunity Peterborough is not a business accelerator program, it is responsible for increasing the economic development of the city. Within this, they work closely with UK Trade and Investment and local Chambers of Commerce to assist businesses of any size and stature with trade opportunities and business support.
Whether its grants, debt or equity funding, Opportunity Peterborough is able to provide impartial and expert funding advice around the avenues of funding that are available and have a number of examples on their website; there are also number of private seed and angel investors in the city.
With excellent transport links to some of the UK’s biggest cities and receiving the title of the UK’s first ‘gigabit city’ thanks to its city-wide digital infrastructure and excellent expert business support, it seems that the fundamentals are already in place for start-ups to succeed in Peterborough. The growth of the digital community in Peterborough will only strengthen the confidence in our entrepreneurs, perhaps making 2015 another record breaking year.