Oxford is changing into an more and more fascinating location for beginning a enterprise.

It’s inside simple attain of different enterprise hubs like London and Bristol, has a wealthy historical past coupled with grand structure and is an actual deal with for literature followers.

Earlier than we speak to the native small enterprise house owners, let’s look over a number of the metropolis’s key traits.


ONS mid-2018 inhabitants estimates had the inhabitants of Oxford at 687,500. Mentioned inhabitants is ageing, with the variety of individuals aged 85+ anticipated to extend as a lot as 63laptop by 2032, in keeping with the Oxfordshire Joint Strategic Wants Evaluation. Nevertheless, deliberate housing development is predicted to create a major improve within the working age and youthful populations. What’s extra, the college means there’s a excessive fee of individuals aged 20-24 dwelling in Oxford metropolis.

Crime fee

The crime fee in Oxford is about the identical as it’s in comparable areas. Within the yr ending December 2018, it was 105.22 per 1,000 inhabitants – across the identical stage as Northampton (105.79) and Studying (102.71).

As you may think, bike theft is extra widespread than in different UK cities. Thames Valley Police says that 1,816 bikes had been stolen final yr. That’s round 5 bikes per day.

Home costs

Most home gross sales in Oxford over the previous yr have been semi-detached properties with a mean worth at £507,303, in keeping with Rightmove.


Oxford attracts seven million daytime and staying guests per yr, producing £780m of earnings for native companies.

Transport hyperlinks

Bus providers run throughout the town or you may soar on Stagecoach providers to Bicester Village, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge.

Oxford has two prepare stations: Oxford Practice Station and Oxford Parkway. The previous runs common providers to London Paddington, London Marylebone, Studying and Birmingham New Avenue. Oxford Parkway goes to London Marylebone through Bicester Village.

Town doesn’t have an airport so your nearest choices are London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Metropolis) or Birmingham Airport. Heathrow and Gatwick have direct coach providers to Oxford which run 24 hours a day.


Oxfordshire Enterprise Help is the primary place to go to for SME funding. It has the Elevate Grant which is made up of two choices, considered one of which is for start-ups. You simply must have fewer than 250 workers and be primarily based in Oxfordshire. The grant shall be £1,000-£three,000 and is meant for job creation, start-up and development.

OxLEP provides grants too however none had been obtainable on the time of writing.

Learn: 150 UK small enterprise grants to use for proper now

What the entrepreneurs product of beginning a enterprise in Oxford

We requested three small companies about their experiences of launching in Oxford to provide you a higher sense of what it’s like.

Mike Roberts, managing director of LegalShield, explains why the corporate selected Oxford as its UK base.

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Mike runs LegalShield in Oxford

We’ve a couple of causes for beginning in Oxford – a few them fairly apparent, I believe. To begin with, communication. Even as we speak, the very best technique of communication is face-to-face, so it’s nice to be located the place we’re. It’s comparatively simple to get right here by street and it’s simple to get right here by rail.

Oxford has actually grow to be a expertise hub over latest years because of the science park in addition to the enterprise park. So, there’s a superb stage of IT assist obtainable which is extremely vital for companies.

Certain, it’s costlier than different areas of England, however it’s definitely cheaper than London.

Why Oxford wins over the capital

A few causes once more, not least of all the truth that it’s simpler to commute out and in of Oxford than it’s to London. I labored in London for seven years – that is positively a nicer atmosphere. Really, once I checked out alternatives to arrange in London or Oxford, I used to be struggling to suppose what the benefits of being in London are. I believe the alternatives today to work exterior of London have grow to be rather more enticing.

Plus, Studying is already very busy and tough to commute out and in of. There was no motive for us to not be in Oxford.

We now make use of a dozen individuals right here. The plan is that in 18 months’ time the worker base will double. At this level I don’t envisage that being an issue in any respect.

I additionally suppose it’s due to the kinds of roles that we’re trying to fulfil. A few of them are technology-based, a few of them are people-based, a few of them are coaching and education-based. After all, in relation to issues like coaching and training, you couldn’t be in a greater hub than Oxford. We’ve attracted a few individuals from the college and 7 members of employees are native. We’ve already acquired a really sturdy group collectively.

The significance of outsourcing

We’re a start-up in our personal proper. There’s solely a lot you are able to do in-house and we’d like assist with another components. The design of our web site and the design of our apps is outsourced. We’re additionally utilizing a neighborhood name centre for incoming calls. There’s the chance to outsource for all small companies, particularly start-ups. That’s a good way of creating issues cost-effective quite than including it to your fastened price base.

As a result of Oxford has this wonderful custom in training, individuals have gotten their eyes and ears open and are accepting of the necessity for change. The enterprise enterprise right here may be very sturdy and the variety of start-up companies in Oxford over the previous 18 months has been fairly appreciable.

The house owners of the enterprise park have been very supportive of us coming in. Once we organized our contract to take our workplace, they got here up with some very versatile phrases for us.

Ann Whorrall runs Olivia Could, a style boutique in Oxford. She thinks the town is an thrilling place to stay. 

I completely adore it right here! Oxford is a cosmopolitan metropolis, in addition to an enormous draw for vacationers, so it felt like the right location for a style boutique to showcase the work of worldwide designers. It’s such a fantastic metropolis, with loads of locations to eat and plenty of occasions taking place on a regular basis. It’s an actual vacation spot location that gives loads of alternatives for individuals to dress up.

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Its well-developed infrastructure permits a continuing circulation of individuals dwelling, working and visiting, which for a retail enterprise is so vital.

A metropolis match for the style business

Oxford additionally blends the basic with the fashionable, so it’s excellent for the Olivia Could model. We encourage individuals to buy ‘the old school approach’ by shopping for basic, high quality items that final and have a distinctly fashionable sense of expression.

As a vibrant college metropolis, it’s filled with artistic younger individuals searching for alternatives within the style business. My job is to make it possible for Olivia Could has interesting profession paths to supply.

My background in training has proved invaluable in relation to discovering, recruiting and retaining expertise. I’ve all the time had a ardour for working with younger individuals and considered one of my favorite components of the job is nurturing expertise.

After all, some workers will transfer on after working with Olivia Could, but when that’s what’s proper for them, that’s nice. I assist my group to develop and thrive of their careers. Many do keep and those who transfer onto different issues create house for me to welcome new individuals on board.

I’ve been in enterprise 5 years now and start-up funding alternatives change on a regular basis, however I do know that there’s loads of wonderful enterprise assist obtainable. The colleges, the Chamber of Commerce and the council all provide a lot of recommendation and assist for these planning to launch a enterprise, such because the Startup Incubator supplied by the College of Oxford in addition to recommendation and steerage from Oxfordshire Native Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP).

‘Life in Oxford is particular’

Life in Oxford is particular. It’s a cultural hub and delightful metropolis to spend time in. Numerous individuals appear to agree as a result of it is likely one of the high vacationer locations within the nation.

The retail sector is powerful right here as properly; I’ve seen it rising and thriving within the time since I primarily based my enterprise in Oxford, in a approach that positively bucks nationwide traits. For Olivia Could that’s partly right down to the enchantment of the vacation spot however primarily in getting our providing proper and offering a retail expertise for our prospects.

Nevertheless it additionally speaks volumes in regards to the unimaginable enterprise assist we’ve right here. Begin-up companies have the next fee of success in Oxford than they do in lots of different components of the nation – that’s an incredible testomony to Oxford’s entrepreneur group. There is no such thing as a scarcity of alternatives for enterprise house owners to community and search assist with teams similar to Thames Valley Chamber and Oxford Enterprise Community. The group has been an incredible assist to us through the years and I’m happy to be part of it.

Holly Pither arrange Tribe PR within the outskirts to provide her more room to write down and spend time along with her household.


For me the important thing was with the ability to work extra flexibly round my household (child daughter and husband). Being in PR, I actually don’t really feel that it issues the place I work. My purchasers are primarily based everywhere in the UK and so long as I can journey to see them face-to-face and do common Google Hangouts then location isn’t a difficulty.

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Transport hyperlinks round listed here are good, with trains out of Oxford Parkway, Oxford metropolis itself and naturally Didcot, Bicester and so forth.

We’ve two nice universities close by which is nice for grads coming into the business. Plus, if we will’t do one thing right here on the company, then I’ll look to my tribe of individuals to assist close by. Most of them work regionally and their expertise are exemplary. And since they’re primarily based out in Oxfordshire, quite than in London, they will hold their prices at a wise fee too.

I might say that Oxford’s primary industries embrace motor manufacturing, training, publishing, data expertise and science. We’ve fairly a couple of science parks positioned right here and naturally the Harwell Campus too. It’s a hive of exercise for younger individuals and I really like being impressed by all the good individuals doing revolutionary new issues.

Dwelling exterior the town

I stay proper out within the sticks in slightly village, so the peace and tranquility are excellent for writing and having time to suppose strategically. The standard of life is nice too. Whereas I’ll stay in a tiny village, I’ve been stunned at what number of like-minded professionals are on my doorstep. I met one individual in a web based networking group, solely to seek out out he lived lower than a mile away.

There are a selection of networking occasions regionally in each Oxford and Cheltenham too, and with the colleges and Saïd Enterprise College close by we’re so properly served for nice occasions and provoking periods that shock and delight of their content material.

Networking teams vary from business centered teams masking off-topics like sustainability and local weather change to feminine networking teams like Mumpreneurs Oxfordshire, which I’ve attended on a variety of events.

There are additionally some nice venues to work in too. Certainly one of my favourites is Quarters Collective, which is a unbelievable co-working house with fantastic espresso, nice cake and a beautiful working atmosphere. Additionally they placed on some nice occasions within the evenings.

It’s value the additional effort to seek out contacts

Get out and community as a lot as potential. I discovered I actually needed to push myself to get on the market and attend occasions since I moved away from London. Given they’re not all the time close by and it’s good to take into consideration logistics and journey slightly extra, it may be simpler to be a keep away from them altogether. However that is fully the flawed strategy.

There are some wonderful occasions regionally and a few unbelievable individuals to satisfy who can kind a part of your tribe, so get on the market and get connecting.

How about beginning a enterprise in one other UK metropolis?

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