Business & Enterprise

World-class location for business

The City of Westminster area comprises Theatreland and the West End shopping area, the capital’s principal areas of government, monarchy, tourism, shopping and entertainment. Geographically, the area stretches from Pimlico and Victoria in the south through the West End, Marylebone and Bayswater to Paddington and Queens Park in the north west.

The area has a resident population of 225,000 and serves 1m visitors/commuters daily. 43,000 businesses call Westminster their home creating 600,000 jobs resulting in the area being the largest employment centre in the UK. It’s tremendously diverse business base is also home to global leading clusters e.g. retail, education and creative and cultural industries. It is no wonder Westminster is the start-up capital of the UK. Whilst some of the world’s largest companies are based here, 85% of businesses have fewer than 10 employees.

Westminster is the economic powerhouse and heart of the London and national economy. Its economic output is higher than the City of London and it has the largest night time economy in the UK.

  • One of the fundamental features of Westminster’s economy is its diversity in terms of industrial sectors. This diversity provides a range of occupations to employees which reinforces Westminster’s iconic business status and its economic resilience, but also contributes to the rich vibrancy of our neighbourhoods and communities.

    Westminster has several local area based unique clusters recognised for their special local distinctiveness that add to the character and function of the area e.g. West End & Knightsbridge (international retail centres), Theatreland, Soho (Creative Industries), Harley Street (Medicine) and  Savile Row (Tailoring) to name a few.

    The West End is the world’s top cultural, entertainment, shopping and dining destination with a global mix of 2,500 restaurants and bars and 2,000 shops, 40 renowned theatres, 30 museums and galleries, 17 Michelin starred restaurants and 7 tranquil green spaces.

    Westminster’s Night Time Economy is the largest in the country, generating £3bn, with 3,800 firms employing nearly 60,000 people.

    Westminster is a world leader for Creative Industries set in the most creative square mile in the World, Soho which clusters at the heart of the West End. The strategic cluster in Covent Garden/Soho makes a particular contribution to London’s world city offer as well as meeting Londoners’ needs.

    Westminster is a world leader in the Knowledge Economy (55% of all jobs in Westminster). Westminster is also a world leading location for Universities and Higher Education, home to the main campuses of three of the best universities in the world: Imperial College London, Kings College London, and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), along with containing buildings or faculties of other major international universities. Westminster is also home to the Royal Academy of Music, the Courtauld Institute and the London Business School. In addition, Westminster is home to the University of Westminster, the University of the Arts, Regent’s College, and the London campuses of several American and international universities.

  • The council is committed to offering the right environment and support for start-up businesses by increasing its enterprise space to 220,000 sq. ft. by March 2019.

    Click here to download the Enterprise Spaces presentation.

    Enterprise space is characterised by focus on businesses in their more vulnerable first 5-years, levels of affordability, flexibility in tenure, fostering of a peer-support business community, a proactive business support offer and a professional work environment. As ‘business incubators’, enterprise spaces are proven to double first five-year survival rates, be helpful for local residents wanting to start businesses, increase sales and generate new jobs.

    The 220,000 sq. ft. target amount of enterprise space will have employment workspace for approximately 4,000 full time jobs and support approximately 2,000 businesses, which represents approximately 5% of Westminster’s business count.

    Westminster’s enterprise spaces are located across the borough, including being within the central activity zone. Increasing the amount of enterprise space in the Harrow Road area is being considered in the place shaping and regeneration plans for the area.

    Here are details on the portfolio of existing and future enterprise space projects in alphabetical order. In addition to the council allocating some of its own finite resources for this programme, the GLA and the West End Partnership have are providing some financial support.

    • Great Western Studios
      81,000 sq. ft. studio space for creative industry businesses in Westbourne ward. The current site opened in 2010 and supports over 150 businesses. The council was an investment partner in this highly successful project.
      To see space click here.
    • Paddington Works
      16,250 sq. ft. affordable business space and enterprise training centre for 160 start-up businesses, particularly those run by local residents. Opportunity arose via section 106 obligations for a new housing development. The council is a co-founder and investment partner in this project. Launched in October 2018.
      To see space click here.
    • Huckletree Soho at Ingestre Court
      12,000 sq. ft. affordable co-working and small office space in Soho for businesses in the creative industry. The project aims to contribute in its own way to addressing the challenges faced by some creative industry businesses that are being pushed out of the area due to rising rent and business rates. The building is owned by the council and is being redeveloped in early 2019 ready for opening in May 2019.
    • Interim Spaces at Regent House
      A 1,600 sq. ft. meanwhile space for businesses in the creative industries. The space is owned by the Portman Estate, who will be re-developing the building. Interim Spaces is a charity that delivers enterprise space on temporary periods of 6-36 months. The space opened in 2016.
    • Lisson Arches
      15,000 sq. ft. co-working and training maker space for 150 technology and creative businesses. It will also offer opportunities for local residents and local school children to learn and do new hobbies. The council is currently building this space as part of a mixed use development. An operator will be sought from autumn of 2019 with a view to the space opening in 2021/22.
    • Maida Hill Place
      3,000 sq. ft. kitchen and restaurant space for 100 food businesses each year, who sequentially hire the space out to test and establish start-up businesses. The council provided financial support for this enterprise space which opened in 2013.
      To see space click here.
    • Somerset House Studios
      44,000 sq. ft. affordable studio space in Somerset House for 100 businesses in the creative industries (primarily artists and designers). The project has turned unused former Government offices into space for start-up businesses. The council provided financial support for this. It opened in 2016.
      To see space click here.
    • Venture 382
      A 3,600 sq. ft. affordable co-working, mentoring and training space for local self-employed residents in Church Street. The space was part of the HELP Enterprise project originally focussed on residents at risk of homelessness. The temporary space remains open.
    • Westminster Enterprise Centre
      A 700 sq. ft. affordable hot-desking space for local residents who have been supported by the centre since 2008 via mentoring and training. The space opened in 2016.
      To see space click here.
    • Great Western Studios +
    • Paddington Works +
    • Huckletree Soho at Ingestre Court +
    • Interim Spaces at Regent House +
    • Lisson Arches +
    • Maida Hill Place +
    • Somerset House Studios +
    • Venture 382 +
    • Westminster Enterprise Centre +

    Other enterprise spaces being developed include a 15,000 sq. ft. space in Victoria, 50,000 sq. ft. at multiple sites in the Harrow Road area, re-purposing empty shops in Church Street and 4,000 sq. ft. in Marylebone. The council is also working with serviced office operators, property developers via the Westminster Property Association and reviewing its own assets to explore more enterprise space being catalysed. The council is also working closely with the West End Partnership who are currently exploring provided substantial support to catalyse more affordable workspace in the West End for creative industry businesses.

  • The City Council owns a number of commercial properties in Westminster that sometimes become available for letting.

    The management of these commercial properties is contracted out to GVA. Below you will find a list of currently available commercial premises:

    Property Planning use Size (SQ FT) Quoting rent NNDR p.a.
    Charlbert Street D1 2546 £79,000 £7,000
    284 Harrow Road B1 890 £20,000 £6,025

    Phone: 020 7911 2219
    Address: GVA, 65 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7NQ


Contact the Westminster Business Unit to get information and advice on affordable workspace, business support, employment and training, business rates, licensing, and more.

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