City Spotlight: A Quick Guide to Franchising in Stoke-on-Trent

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Stoke-on-Trent might not be the first place investors think of when considering new business ventures but, situated in central England, it benefits from close proximity to several major cities. Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield are all close by, linked by a convenient road and rail network. This is your guide to franchising in Stoke-on-Trent.


The largest city between Manchester and Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent is an attractive location for prospective business owners across Staffordshire and Cheshire. With a high proportion of research facilities and leading industry players, it’s proven its status as a hub for innovation and growth. 

An overview of Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent has a population of 645,000 people, and 61.4 percent of them are between 16 and 64 years old. This figure puts the city’s proportion of working-age residents as slightly lower than the total across England and Wales, which sits at 62.3 percent. The area’s smaller share of workers is hardly surprising, given the residents’ average age comes to 41.5, compared to 40.3 across England and Wales in general.

Workers in and around Stoke-on-Trent tend to take home smaller salaries than the average Brit. Across the region, income figures dip to around £27,700 in Newcastle-under-Lyme and rise to £34,500 in Stafford. Meanwhile, the UK average salary is £38,600. 

In line with Stoke-on-Trent’s lower salaries, properties are fairly affordable. Homeowners part with £186,000 on average, while buyers spend £320,000 across England and Wales.

Stoke-on-Trent is in the top 10 fastest growing economies in the country, outside of London. Manufacturing growth is at 15 percent since 2009, higher than the national average. And there is good news for business start-ups: more new businesses perform well in their first year in Stoke-on-Trent than national and regional averages.
—Make It Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire


One of the biggest advantages of franchising in Stoke-on-Trent is the chance to access a high number of workers, customers, suppliers and business partners from across the surrounding region. The city is just 17 miles from Birmingham and 45 miles from Manchester. And you can get to London on the train in under an hour and a half. 

Plus, there are 2.7 million people living within a 45-minute drive of Stoke-on-Trent, which means it has a higher catchment area population than Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle, Edinburgh or Glasgow. Also, more than 25,000 people study key subjects like engineering, science and technology, at two of the city’s nearby universities, Keele and Staffordshire. 

Running your own business in Stoke-on-Trent

If you choose to start franchising in Stoke-on-Trent, you’ll join a cluster of high-profile businesses who have opted to establish their headquarters in the region. You’ll brush shoulders with the likes of JCB, Michelin, FedEx, bet365 and Portmeirion. 

Here are Stoke-on-Trent’s most productive sectors: 

  • Manufacturing - More than 56,000 people are employed in manufacturing across Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, and 3,600 students work towards related degrees at Staffordshire University’s large engineering faculty. International firms including Siemens, Pirelli and GE power are based in the region, but it also has a historical association with ceramics, which dates back to the 17th century. Industrial rents are 25-33 percent cheaper in the region than in Birmingham and Manchester, helping business owners save money.

  • Life sciences - Leading the way for life sciences organisations in the region are Keele University and the Royal Stoke University Hospital, which is investing £370 million in its facilities. They specialise in clinical trials, bioengineering and therapeutic stem cells and tissue engineering, and 97 percent of research completed at Keele is considered ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. There are more than 7,500 healthcare professionals in Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, including 1,700 scientific R&D and technical employees. 

  • Agri-tech - The Midlands is known for its strengths in agri-tech, characterised by a cluster of research, processing, packaging and distribution firms. The sector is led by international companies including Müller, Heineken, Pepsico and Arla. And, not far from Stoke-on-Trent, Keele University has partnered with Harper Adams University to establish a veterinary school, which is now one of just 10 of its kind across the UK. 

  • Energy - Stoke-on-Trent has a particular strength in electric power, and employment in the sector is three times higher than the national average. Meanwhile, 34,000 residents work in the energy and environment industry, and 38,600 people are employed in process, plant and machine operations. There are also big plans for the sector, which aims to establish the UK’s biggest low-carbon geothermal district heat network. It’s also investing £67 million for energy projects and 3,900 new apprenticeships.

  • Creative and digital - Over 6,500 people work in this sector across the region, which has particular specialisms in medicine and entertainment. Junction 15, a production company based in Stoke-on-Trent, has won awards for its coverage of events like the Olympics, as well as films including Star Wars and Fast & Furious. Nearby, Keele-based Koko Digital has created games for James Bond and Top Gear. And Staffordshire University’s various film and animation courses have produced graduates who’ve gone on to win BAFTAs and Oscars for work on projects including Inception and Avatar.

  • Logistics - A convenient road network and nearby high-profile transport hubs make Stoke-on-Trent a handy base for companies with logistics needs. The city has access to the M6 and the M1 via the A42, A42 and A50, which connect the region’s many transportation and storage hubs. Around 23,800 people work in the sector across the city and the neighbouring area of Stafford. And businesses can make use of the nearby East Midlands Airport and the Port of Liverpool - both about an hour’s drive away.

  • Professional services - As a key part of the franchise industry, the professional services sector could hold lots of potential for anyone considering franchising in Stoke-on-Trent. It employs 31,000 people across the wider region, and a further 7,000 employees work in computer programming and similar fields. The legal and accounting sectors are especially profitable at the moment; their number of employees have grown by more than 40 percent in recent years. 


Franchising in Stoke-on-Trent

Running a franchise unit in the city will place you at the centre of a wider commercial hub. With easy access to large cities like Manchester and Liverpool, you’ll be able to benefit from a high level of infrastructure, as well as business investment and networking opportunities. 

So, what franchises are there in Stoke-on-Trent? Point Franchise works with the UK’s best brands to offer high-quality investment openings for its readers. Take a look at our selection of opportunities for franchising in Stoke-on-Trent, from B2B franchises to sports franchises, to get started. 

*Statistics taken from PlumPlot.co.uk and MakeItStokeStaffs.co.uk

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