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Bristol - the city where investment and productivity are consistent buzzwords

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September 12, 2018

JLL is immensely proud to have partnered with Tech Nation to launch its annual research report, Tech Nation 2018, at its first major event since the organisation came into being in April this year.

We've seen strong and consistent take-up from businesses in Bristol, keen to take advantage of the city's investment opportunities, universities and quality of life.

Bristol - the city where investment and productivity are consistent buzzwords

These factors all help to make the city a perfect place to start and grow a business and last year Bristol-based firms posted £7.9bn of revenue, equivalent to around £320k of revenue per worker – making it the country's top digital tech productivity hotspot.

This impressive performance has helped create demand for workspace, with tech and media firms taking around 250,000 sq ft over the last two years. However, there is a need for more affordable, flexible workspaces.

Success stories include Graphcore, which develops accelerators for AI and machine learning, which took approximately 11,000 sq ft of office space last year. While Dyson and Parmenian, are both taking space and expanding because of the city's IT strength.

Tech Nation is a national network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs and its latest report highlights how inward investment has helped the sector to grow in the city.

SETsquared, an enterprise partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey has helped over 2,500 UK start-ups raise more than £1.5bn of investment.

We've seen game changing funding flooding into the city in recent years. Mix this with Bristol's reputation for offering a good quality of life, its heritage in engineering and excellent academic institutions and this all adds up to making it an attractive place to do business.

Bristol's entrepreneurial climate helps attract new businesses. Many are based at the Engine Shed, which is a high quality, flexible workspace which allows tech start-ups to work alongside their peers with the option to quickly upscale.

There is high demand for these type of workspaces, but according to the 2018 Tech Nation survey, completed by over 3,400 members of the country's tech community, only 36 percent believe the city has enough affordable workspace.

However, we are starting to see this issue being addressed with several co-working and serviced operators opening in the second half of the year and into 2019. Also within the Enterprise Zone, construction has started on a major new office scheme called The Distillery which is targeting SMEs in the tech sector.

Survey respondents were optimistic about Bristol's future, with the vast majority expecting to see a rise in the number of tech businesses in the city over the next 12 months. Moving forward there is a huge opportunity to scale-up these businesses.

Ian Wills – Director Office Agency JLL