Surrounded by countryside but situated near to major cities like Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham, Gloucester benefits from great infrastructure in a rural setting. If you’re considering starting a business in the South West, it could be the ideal spot. Here’s our guide to franchising in Gloucester.
Gloucester is a Roman city with a cathedral dating back to the 11th century. Within half an hour, you can get to bustling areas like Cheltenham and Stroud, as well as the countryside locations including the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean.
Over the past two decades, Gloucester has benefitted from more than £1 billion in investments, which has helped give old infrastructure and land a new lease of life. Now, there’s a thriving business scene, ready to support young professionals and budding business owners across the city.
An overview of Gloucester
Roughly 630,000 people live in Gloucester, who have an average age of 42.5 years. This means the city has a slightly older population than other areas in England and Wales, where people are 40.3 on average. As a result, Gloucester has a relatively low number of working-age residents compared to elsewhere. Across the city, 60.4 percent of people are aged between 16 and 64, while the figure sits at 62.3 percent across England and Wales.
Workers in Gloucester earn slightly less than the average UK income; salaries range from around £30,800 in the Cotswolds to £37,100 in Tewkesbury. Meanwhile, the average Brit makes £38,600.
Conversely, Gloucester property is more expensive than in many other UK regions. Houses sell for £339,000 on average, compared to £320,000 across England and Wales. Gloucestershire also has big plans to increase the amount of housing in the area, with 60,000 new homes by 2031.
Gloucestershire enjoys an abundance of natural beauty and heritage and a healthy tourism sector. The urban hearts of Cheltenham and Gloucester and the beautiful countryside, market towns and villages that surround them provide something for everyone.
Gloucester also benefits from being part of the Western Gateway, which encourages economic growth across the South West and South Wales, from Swansea and Cardiff to Cheltenham, Bristol and Bath.
Within the city, 61 percent of students achieve five A*-C GCSEs, which is above the national average. Also, 36.8 percent of the population is educated to NVQ4 level or higher, up from 22.3 percent in 2007. Across the working-age population, 81 percent of people are employed, contributing to the county’s 344,000-strong job market.
Gloucester occupies a convenient location, with access to the M4 and M48, as well as the M5 corridor. So, getting to nearby regions like Cardiff, Oxford and London is fairly straightforward. In fact, you can get to four major cities within just an hour and 20 minutes - including Bristol, which takes just 40 minutes in the car.
Several transport and logistics facilities are also nearby; you can reach Heathrow Airport in an hour and a half, and Avonmouth Port in around 40 minutes.
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Running your own business in Gloucester
Every city has its specialisms, and Gloucester is no different. Here are the sectors you could consider joining if you’re interested in franchising in Gloucester:
- Engineering and manufacturing – Gloucester’s expertise in engineering dates back to 1830, when the first lawnmower was invented in the city. Since then, it has expanded into many different sub-sectors, including aerospace, precision engineering and advanced materials. Almost three quarters of Gloucester businesses are ‘innovation active’. And, while manufacturing businesses across the country contribute 10.2 percent of the total GVA, Gloucester’s companies give 15.2 percent of the region’s output.
- Agri-tech – Across Gloucestershire, more than 50,000 people work in food and agriculture, while 4,800 students and 600 academics study related subjects. Local agri-tech businesses have already invested £32 million in the industry, which is represented by internationally recognised organisations: The Royal Agricultural University (RAU), Hartpury University and Hartpury College. You’ll also find Farm491 in the county, the biggest agri-tech incubator in the UK.
- Renewable energy – Gloucester aims to be carbon neutral by 2050 and become the first place on the planet to create a healthy circular economy across food and farming. It’s already invested £10 million in its Green Skills Centre and benefits from the Gloucestershire Sustainable Energy Strategy (GSES). Businesses are also working on building sustainable transport and construction solutions. Because the region has twice as many listed buildings as the national county average, it’s developing low-carbon retrofit projects for heritage properties.
Gloucestershire has the potential to be the greenest place to live and work in England.
- Digital and cyber – Across the county, you’ll find the leading tech-oriented business park Cyber Central, and one of two UK Cyber Innovation Centres, which has space for government, academic and private sector resources. GCHQ is also based nearby in Cheltenham, employing almost 6,000 people. Within the region, 15.4 percent of young people plan to work in the cyber-tech sector, which is promising for the industry.
- Tourism – With its rich cultural heritage and surrounding landscapes, Gloucester has lots to recommend it. The nearby Cotswolds is the biggest of the UK’s 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and the National Hunt Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse also helps bring in the crowds. In fact, over 130,000 people pass through Cheltenham Spa railway station and spend around £100 million during the four-day event.
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Franchising in Gloucester
The statistics in this franchise guide demonstrate Gloucester’s status as a city on the up. It’s investing millions of pounds in its infrastructure to improve its standing as a leading UK business cluster.
Choose to start franchising in Gloucester and you’ll be able to take part in local events, such as The Gloucestershire Business Show, which attracts thousands of people. Plus, you’ll have many more exciting opportunities at your fingertips, thanks to Gloucester’s proximity to major cities like Bristol and Cardiff.
To kick-start your next business venture, take a look at the current opportunities for franchising in Gloucester – you’ll find investment openings across a wide range of sectors.
*Statistics taken from PlumPlot.co.uk, InvestGloucester.co.uk, InvestInGloucestershire.com and GFirstLEP.com
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©