London: Open for Business
London doesn’t really need an introduction. The most visited city in the world is home to Big Ben, double-decker buses, the Queen, the Tube, Shoreditch hipsters, Sloane Rangers, Tower Bridge, pinstripe suits and bowler hats, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar square. What lies behind London’s rise to glory is commerce. By the 10th century, London was England’s largest city and most important trading centre. By the 1700s, trading ships were arriving carrying all kinds of goods for sale in the City. Tea, silk and spices came from the Orient, sugar was brought from the Caribbean, timber came from Norway and iron ore arrived from Sweden. During the 19th century, London was transformed into the world’s largest city and the capital of the British Empire. Today, London is the world’s leading financial centre alongside New York City and is a leading global city, with the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, media, research and development, tourism and transport all contributing to its prominence.
Now, with the Eurozone debt crisis continuing and the Olympic Games rapidly approaching, London is working harder than ever to keep its economy on track. The city is operating a four-pronged initiative to boost business: investing billions into infrastructure projects, freeing up credit to help businesses grow, launching tax breaks to encourage enterprise, and paring back business regulation. As a result, London is one of the most stable, attractive and exciting global cities for international companies seeking to set up. The Olympic Games is acting as a catalyst for growth, its legacy of world-class stadia, business hubs and new neighbourhoods generating jobs and contracts worth millions.
London & Partners is London’s official promotional organisation and home to London’s convention bureau, offering free, impartial advice and guidance to event planners, associations and convention organisers. London & Partners has offices in London, Beijing, Shanghai, New York, San Francisco and Mumbai. Its service is comprehensive, confidential and funded, therefore it comes at no cost to clients.
London offers some of the most exciting and diverse culture in the world, helping conference organisers offer fun and unique itineraries to delegates, from West End shows to Royal Palaces.
London & Partners points out that London is a gateway to world markets, offering access to Europe’s 500 million consumers. It has a first-class international talent pool, with some 40% of the workforce being born overseas. The city’s office hours overlap with countries generating 99% of global GDP. There are more European headquarters in London than any other city in Europe. The city is a magnet for entrepreneurs and inventors. It is the number one European city for the volume of patents that it registers in healthcare, informatics, nanotechnology, and wireless technology.
Upcoming business incentives in London include an £80-billion credit injection for UK banks willing to pass on the benefits to business. From April 2013, UK-based research and development activities will benefit from a lower 10% tax on profits. East London’s Tech City is home to one of the largest concentrations of fast-growing digital technology companies in Europe. The area’s incubators and low-cost offices are now sought-after addresses for ambitious ICT companies. Entrepreneurs can now enter the UK to secure funding and make arrangements for starting their business before transferring to a full Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa. UK corporation tax will fall to 23% by 2014, making the UK more competitive than Germany and the US. Small firms with profits below £300,000 will just continue to pay just 20%. Under the enterprise investment scheme, companies now benefit from 30% tax relief on investments up to £1 million.
London has been voted Europe’s number one city for international and national transport links for 21 consecutive years by European Cities Monitor. It is accessible through low-cost flights, and it has five international airports and excellent local and international rail links. London has more than 1,000 conference venues to suit every budget, size and sector, from world-class conference centres to unique historical sites. Many of these venues are enabled with cutting-edge technology to help broaden access to events, engaging audiences in multiple locations around the world at a low cost. London is home to global financial, media, advertising and ICT hubs and 50% of all European headquarters, making it the best city in Europe to build business networks and meet future partners.
London offers some of the most exciting and diverse culture in the world, helping conference organisers offer fun and unique itineraries to delegates, from West End shows to Royal Palaces. There are 125,000 hotel rooms in London, ranging from exclusive retreats to university rooms for larger groups. London is at the heart of Europe’s low-cost airline network, and with a range of budget hotels, free world-class attractions and group discounts, enabling companies to save money on London events without compromising on quality.
The city is operating a four-pronged initiative to boost business: investing billions into infrastructure projects, freeing up credit to help businesses grow, launching tax breaks to encourage enterprise, and paring back business regulation.
London and Partners helps organize numerous incentive programs for delegates. These include teambuilding activities such as clay pigeon shooting on the Thames, sightseeing challenges on board an iconic London bus, wine-tasting challenges, cooking lessons and cocktail master classes. London’s internationally renowned sporting events and venues also provide memorable days out. Delegates can be rewarded with exclusive seats at high-profile sporting events, from UEFA Champions League games and rugby matches at Twickenham to Premier League fixtures at London clubs, including Tottenham, West Ham, Fulham, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Upcoming London events include the opening of the ArcelorMittal Orbit observation tower in the Olympic Park. This tower is Britain’s largest piece of public art. The Emirates Cable Car has just opened for business, comprising a 1km cable car line from Greenwich to the Royal Docks. The O2 Arena Roof Walkway is a 200-foot high walkway suspended from the arena’s distinctive yellow masts. The £100-million restoration of the 1889 Savoy has made it one of London’s most opulent hotels. Westfield Stratford City is a £1.4 billion project to create Europe’s largest urban mall with cinemas, restaurants, a casino and one million visitors a week. Not forgetting the Shard, Europe’s tallest building, which will offer the best office space and views in London when it opens in 2013.