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written by
Charlotte Harwood

Starting a business in Southampton

View from boat

With its long history of ship building, Southampton’s maritime links flow through every street in the city. Today, you’ll see it’s still in full swing, with a harbour full of containerships and some of the biggest cruise ships in the world. It’s known as the cruise capital of Europe, and businesses in the city benefit greatly from the increased footfall that this brings year on year. 

Quality of life

Cunard, P&O and B&Q all call Southampton home, and these big names are testament to business success on the south coast. In fact, Southampton is the most productive port in Europe, and the UK’s leading port for automotive trade.

Southampton’s location on the coast seriously boosts the quality of life enjoyed by its residents. It’s also surrounded by some of the most picturesque countryside that Britain has to offer, and with a thriving economy it’s widely recognised as the commercial capital of the south. 

Support for small businesses

Business support comes in the form of the Solent Growth Hub,  Southampton’s Local Enterprise Partnership. The Solent Growth Hub supports businesses in a variety of sectors, helping them to find the right funding, premises and networking events to really benefit each individual business.

The Daedalus Solent Enterprise Zone houses a large number of high-tech manufacturing businesses, along with the highest concentration of maritime businesses in the whole of the UK. This specific focus plays to the long-standing strengths of the local area, and as such has given rise to some hugely successful maritime, aerospace and aviation businesses.

On the business accelerators front, Southampton has SETSquared, a collaboration between five universities across the south. It mainly supports high-tech start-ups, giving member businesses access to mentors, partnership opportunities and a gateway to the international market.

Better broadband connections

Broadband in Southampton reaches an average speed of 19.1Mbps, but the city, like many others, is currently running the connection vouchers scheme. With this initiative, businesses can get a voucher worth up to £3,000 to help cover the costs of connecting to faster, better broadband. 

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