Set up new premises for advanced engineering

Expertise clusters are spread throughout the UK, with strong links to key research centres, production facilities and infrastructure.


Advanced engineering clusters

Advanced manufacturing

Manufacturing is spread across all parts of the UK, making a significant contribution to regional output. In terms of output and employment the three largest areas are:

  • North West England, including Manchester and Liverpool
  • West Midlands, including Birmingham
  • South East England

There are many other centres of activity with a high proportion of jobs in innovative manufacturing, such as the city of Plymouth and surrounding areas in South West England.

Materials 

  • Manchester – the centre of graphene discovery and innovation, including the Henry Royce Institute
  • Lancashire – its advanced manufacturing cluster has opportunities in lightweighting of materials technologies for aerospace supply chain applications
  • North East England, Yorkshire and the Tees Valley – lightweighting materials with transport applications

Robotics and automation

Centres for robotics and automation are also large logistics hubs, situated in:

  • the Milton Keynes Logistics Hub (South East England)
  • iPort Doncaster (North East England)
  • Leicester, at Magna Park, Lutterworth (East Midlands)
  • London, at the DP Logistics Hub

Incubators

Incubators are business growth programmes that provide physical space for startups, with shared facilities and business support services. They’re often based in science parks.

There are around 400 incubator programmes currently operating in the UK.  Most incubators will charge your company fees or rent, but this is often subsidised by a university of public funding.

Accelerators

Accelerators will typically offer your company services through an intensive programme of 3 to 12 months. There are currently around 300 programmes operating in the UK.

Accelerators tend to be more growth-driven than incubators, as they often offer direct funding in return for equity (typically less than 10%). They’re more appropriate if you’re a startup looking to scale rapidly.

Find out more on the websites of advanced engineering accelerators, including:

View a directory of accelerators and incubators in the UK on the website of the Centre for Entrepreneurs (requires free registration)

Freeports

Freeports are special areas within the UK’s borders where different economic regulations apply and where you can access planning, infrastructure and innovation support from the UK government.

Freeports can provide an invaluable opportunity for advanced manufacturing businesses, with a broad range of specialisms, including chemicals and renewable energy. You can also access a wide range of customs and tax benefits by expanding your business within a UK Freeport.

See the full list of Freeports

Find office space

The UK has a competitive market of specialised serviced office companies, professional services companies and virtual office providers, all ensuring costs are kept low for clients.

Virtual offices allow companies to meet any legal obligation to have a registered address in the UK, without paying for a physical office.

You can compare prices for office or other space on commercial property search engines, such as Estates Gazette,  and the websites of office advisory services like Instant Offices or Flexi Offices.

Support from local business programmes

The nations and regions of the UK have a network of private-public partnership bodies that look after local economic development. These bodies may be able to support you with finding office space.

England

Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hubs support businesses across England. Find links on the Growth Hub network listing.

UK nations

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland manage their programmes for business support, funding and finance in their areas.

More information on the programmes’ websites:

Regulations and best practice guidance

The Engineering Council is the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession. It provides standards for engineering competence related to best practice and professional registration.

Find regulatory advice related to engineering companies on GOV.UK, including:

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