Top Government-Backed Initiatives for SME’s in London

Houses of Parliament @officeinlondonSmall and medium sized businesses in London have access to a range of government-backed initiatives that support business development and growth. From loan programmers to mentoring initiatives, these schemes are designed to develop capacity, improve access to financing and support innovation. They are also important tools to help entrepreneurs and managers interested in developing business ideas and expanding their business.

Start Up Loans

Start Up Loans is a government funded scheme that provides loans and business mentors for entrepreneurs. The Start Up Loans Company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and was originally created within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Launched in 2012, Start Up Loans has lent more than £85 million to over 16,000 businesses across the UK. Entrepreneurs looking for other financing sources beyond banks and business grants may apply for loans of up to £15,000. In addition to financing, successful applicants have access to a business mentor and other support services.

Delivery partners work with entrepreneurs to develop their business plans and find mentors. Partners in London include Start Up Direct, East London Small Business Centre, South London Business, Connect London, NWES (Virgin Startup), Bright Ideas Trust, Financing Start-up Enterprise, TrainE-TraidE, Kaleidoscope, Fashion Angel and HBV Enterprise. For more information about Start Up Loans and to apply for funding, visit Continue reading “Top Government-Backed Initiatives for SME’s in London”

The Launch of MedCity

MedCity @officeinlondonThe vision for MedCity is to position London and the South East of England as a leading centre for life science research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation. Launched in April 2014, it will also help develop the region as an interconnected cluster for life sciences over the next twenty years focused on the so-called ‘golden triangle’ of London, Oxford and Cambridge.

Vision for MedCity

MedCity will promote London and the greater South East as a world leader and interconnected region for the life sciences sector. The initiative will involve the collaboration of academic institutions, businesses from various industry sectors, academics and researchers, and government leaders and politicians, and investors. With already over 700,000 people in the South East employed in the life sciences and healthcare sectors, MedCity will be tasked with creating additional jobs in the region. It will also foster additional collaboration and joint ventures to help lead the way towards new discoveries that are commercially viable. The ultimate goal is to promote the life sciences sector in the South East to the same position as the financial services sector in the region and the broader national economy.

About MedCity Limited

Founded by the Mayor of London, MedCity Limited is a partnership between London-based King’s Health Partners, Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre and UCL Partners. The partnership also includes the support of the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. The initiative is modelled after the successful Tech City, a technology cluster centred in Central and East London. Continue reading “The Launch of MedCity”

The Best of London: Jobs, Business Locations and Events

London skyline @officeinlondonWithout a doubt London is one of the most important business locations in the World. Lets take a look at some of the most popular and highest paying jobs, the most sought after business locations, the top business incubators and the essential networking events and conferences to attend in London.

The Most Sought After Careers and Popular Jobs in London

Being the capital of one of the strongest economies in the world, it is not surprising that London attracts thousands of jobseekers every year, who arrive in the British capital hoping to give a boost to their career by landing a position in the city. According to a March 2013 report published by local London newspaper The Evening Standard, the official unemployment rate in the city is at a four-year low, and currently stands at 7.8 per cent. Data collected by the Greater London Authority show that during 2013, the total number of jobs available in the city has increased by 3.9 per cent when compared to the previous year.

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The Most Highly Paid Careers in London

As Britain’s biggest financial hub, London has plenty to offer in terms of high paying careers. From the towering buildings of Canary Wharf financial experts manipulate the stock market using a combination of expertise and risk. Within London and around its edges, pilots and flight engineers jet lucky holiday makers off to exotic destinations. If you fancy a career change, or just a little inspiration, these highly paid careers in London can set you right.

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The Top Businsess Locations in London

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Office Interiors Inspired by Nature

Selgascano office
Bringing natural elements into an office space can create a fresh and positive working environment. From using natural materials to incorporating features that evoke the outside environment, there are a number of ways businesses can successfully bring the natural world indoors.

Natural Designs

Incorporating certain design elements into the look of an office is a great way of evoking natural imagery and brings office space closer to natural spaces. For example, windows can be frosted with designs that recreate natural sightings including trees, flowers and wildlife. Sugamo Shunkin Bank in Japan has created an office that uses leafy decor, including using decorative stencils and frosting on windows that mimic large trees with colourful leaves. A forest-like environment is also created thanks to seven indoor courtyards with trees and grass. Continue reading “Office Interiors Inspired by Nature”

The Work – Life Balance

Work and Life Balance @officeinlondonWhether you are an employer or an employee, chances are that you are aware of how important it is to maintain the right work-life balance. Taking a balanced approach to both your working and your personal life is an essential element of success, as the negative effects of an unbalanced lifestyle have been well documented. A happy and highly motivated task force results in enhanced productivity, a healthy working environment, and better interpersonal relationships both at home and at work.

However, it is not always easy to apply the principles of the work-life balance concept. If you are having difficulties with this, read through this article to achieve a better understanding of the factors involved and to learn some useful tips.

Taking a closer look at the work-life balance concept

As you probably know, the work-life balance concept is a relatively recent ‘invention’. During the nineteenth century, the duration of a typical working day was well over ten hours. Soon after, trade unions and workers’ associations campaigned for the reduction of the working day to eight hours. The eight-hour working day is now seen as standard in the majority of industrialised countries, but according to statistical data, a large percentage of workers still spend more than eight hours per day at the workplace or taking care of work-related matters.

This is why the work-life balance concept came into being. The expression itself was coined in the early 1970s, as researchers found that the boundaries between the professional and the personal spheres were often blurred. Later on, studies showed that this imbalance could lead to mental and physical fatigue, poor productivity, and a range of health conditions, including a weak immune system, depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular disorders.

Nowadays, employers and employees recognise that balancing the personal and the professional is an essential element of good health and successful businesses. But how exactly can this be achieved? Continue reading “The Work – Life Balance”

Overview of London’s Commercial Property Market – 1st Quarter 2014

So far, 2014 has had a promising start in terms of the overall health of the UK’s real estate market. According to the most recent indicators, the British economy is experiencing its strongest growth levels since 2007, and this has undoubtedly had a positive knock-on effect in the UK’s real estate market. Take a look at the key trends and figures that have marked the commercial property market in London during the first quarter of the year.

The London office market: key facts and figures

During the first quarter of 2014, the predominant theme in the London office property market has been increased investment activity and the investors’ willingness to take on bigger risks and to get involved in larger transactions. This trend has been mostly evident in the geographical expansion of the office market within and beyond the city’s boundaries. In previous quarters, activity in the office market concentrated around the Central London area. However, during the first quarter of the year, occupiers and investors have shown an increasingly strong preference for out-of-town offices (whose yields have increased to 4 per cent) and for properties in the Thames Valley area, whose current investment yields average 6 per cent. Nevertheless, office space located in the city’s West End commands the highest investment yield values at an average of nearly 8 per cent, followed by City office floor space, which is currently yielding returns of 6 per cent.

The key role played last year by the technology, media, and communications sector in the growth of the London office market has continued to be evident during the first quarter of 2014. Analysts at Deloitte affirm that during the remainder of the year, the TMT sector will continue to be the most important source of demand in the capital’s office market. Likewise, analysts have noticed increased demand for office space from banking and financial companies, whose requirements for additional floor space seem to be back on track thanks to the generalised optimistic outlook of the British economy.

Another highlight of this quarter involves the drop in office vacancy rates, which currently stand at 6.8 per cent. This figure is a clear improvement over the long-term average for the city, which has been close to 8 per cent for the past five years. In Central London and the West End, class A prime office rents average £120 per square foot. Last year ended with average rental values of £110, but during the first quarter of 2014 rising demand has resulted in significant price increases.

Outside the West End, leasing activity has been particularly buoyant in areas like King’s Cross, Euston, Paddington, Midtown, Victoria, Mayfair, and the area north of Oxford Street. In fact, some of this sub-markets have experienced year-on-year rental growth values of up to 26 per cent.

Overall, during the first three months of 2014, the most obvious trends in the office property market have been strengthened occupier activity, increased rental values, and stronger investor activity. Continue reading “Overview of London’s Commercial Property Market – 1st Quarter 2014”

Innovative Networking Events and Ideas in London

Networking Events in London @officeinlondonIn a world where many businesses are caught up in driving commerce via social media, promotions as simple as networking are often neglected. Still, more and more individuals are recognising the need to return to traditional forms of marketing that work. If your approach to networking could do with a refresh, London is the right place to find success. Taking the innovative approach encourages those you network with to engage and creates a sense of excitement that will allow the buzz generated by your event to continue for some time.

Historic Medical Venue Hire

Choosing a historic venue for your networking event will awaken the audience’s imagination. Throw a tour into the mix and you will have everyone feeling enticed by the time the main event arrives. If possible, invite a guest speaker to follow the tour to add to the excitement.

London is teaming with historic venues, and it is those that are medical that often tell the greatest stories. The Royal Hospital of Chelsea–which is currently inhabited by the Chelsea pensioners–comes with a variety of rooms and conferencing facilities. Guests can network under the watchful eye of earls’ portraits in the State Apartments or they can enjoy the unrivaled acoustics of the Wren Chapel. The Royal Hospital is certainly majestic, but it doesn’t really feel medical. For a true healthcare setting, try contacting St. George’s University, in West London, which regularly hires out its hospital-themed sets for filming and other purposes.

Adopt Japanese Influences

In Japan, ‘Pecha kucha’ talks are all the rage. These talks simply mean ‘chit chat’, and are made of short five-minute presentations on concepts. Afterwards, guests have the opportunity to mingle with each other and discuss the ideas that were briefly introduced. The genius of this is quite simple really; five-minutes is enough to entice your audience into wanting to learn more about an idea, which sets the rest of the evening apart for discussions to take place.

Japanese venue hires aren’t in short supply in London. While you could host a ‘Pecha kucha’ anywhere, it feels fitting to give the Japanese concept a Japanese theme. The Japanese Roof Garden of the Brunei Gallery at SOAS, in Russell Square, can leave your guests feel as though they have been transported from London to Japan. The Mayfair is also home to a Japanese-style garden, but this one comes with a moonlit theme. Throw in Japanese drinks and dishes, such as Saki tasting sessions. Continue reading “Innovative Networking Events and Ideas in London”

The London Marathon

London Marathon @londonmarathon @officeinlondonThe 34th London Marathon will be run on 13 April 2014, and is one of the world’s leading athletics events. The London Marathon attracts world and Olympic champions, as well as range of amateur runners of all abilities. The festive atmosphere often features playful runners dressed up for charity.

About the London Marathon

Although the current London Marathon was first run on 29 March 1981, long-distance races have been held in the city as early as 1909. In that year, the Polytechnic Marathon was organised for the first time. The last Polytechnic Marathon was run in 1996. The prestigious London Marathon is held each year in the spring. Founded by former Olympian Chris Brasher and John Disley, the London Marathon is one of the top six international marathons recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in addition to New York, Boston, Tokyo, Berlin and Chicago. The London Marathon features three groups of starters: Elite Women, Elite Men, and Wheelchair (men and women). These starter groups are followed by a Mass Race with runners of various abilities. The first edition of the London Marathon attracted 6,747 runners. In 2013, the event attracted 34,631 participants.

The Route

The route for the London Marathon is largely flat and concentrated around the River Thames. It has changed very little over the years, with changes primarily being made as a result of construction and road works. The race begins at three different points around Blackheath. The often fast-paced marathon ends at The Mall, next to St. James’s Park and close to Buckingham Palace. The course spans 42.195 kilometres, or 26 miles and 385 yards.

Beginning at Blackheath, the London Marathon travels south of the River Thames and east towards Charlton. The three separate starting points merge after 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich. From there, runners travel past the Old Royal Naval College before heading to the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. The course then winds towards Surrey Quays at the Docklands, followed by Bermondsey. After running along Jamaica Road, competitors reach the half-way point of the marathon at Tower Bridge. Continue reading “The London Marathon”

Is it Faster to Walk Between Some London Underground Stations than Take the Tube?

London Tube Map @officeinlondonBuilt 150 yeas ago, the London Underground is now part and parcel of the life of many Londoners. Given the capital’s notoriously bad traffic, the tube is often hailed as the quickest way of getting from A to B. But is it really so? Some of the trains running up and down the Metropolitan line can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, but in the city centre, trains barely reach half of that speed. The reason? The stations are too close to each other. This means that in some cases, it might actually be faster to walk than to take the tube. If you are often pressed for time or simply enjoy walking around, take a look at a few alternative walking routes that can save you time and money.

Leicester Square to Covent Garden

These two Piccadilly line stations are only 270 yards apart. In fact, you will see signs at both stations recommending passengers to walk, especially at peak times. Walking takes just 4 minutes, plus you won’t be putting your patience to the test on the crowded escalators or using up all your energy climbing the 193 steps at Covent Garden.

Charing Cross to Embankment

Many stations on the Jubilee line are barely 500 yards apart from each other. Charing Cross and Embankment are even closer, at just under 300 yards. Walking will definitely offer you a welcome break from the trains that are often packed with commuters. The walk down Northumberland Avenue is quite pleasant and takes only 5 minutes.

Farringdon to Chancery Lane

Trying to get by tube between these two stations involves changing from the Central to the Northern line at Bank station and changing lines again (after just 1 stop) at Moorgate. The trip seems too much of a hassle considering that you can walk between both stations is less than 10 minutes and enjoy a walk through the backstreets of old Holborn. Continue reading “Is it Faster to Walk Between Some London Underground Stations than Take the Tube?”

The Top Business Incubators in London

London Business Incubator @officeinlondonA business incubator is an excellent opportunity for start-up and development stage businesses to grow. Through a variety of supports that include mentorship, office space, financing and more, businesses and entrepreneurs are able to improve networks and develop skills and promising products or services for the market. London is home to some of the world’s top business incubator programmes, including Impact Hub and Accelerator.


Accelerator is a specialist business incubator located in Shoreditch. The district is at the centre of London’s information and communication technology (ICT) and digital media economy. Part of London Metropolitan University, the incubator provides services for students and businesses. For students, Accelerator offers support, advice and advice for any one interested in starting their own business. The program also runs an annual Business Plan Competition for students. From two-day boot camps for entrepreneurs and start-ups to meeting facilities, the incubator offers, the incubator delivers supports for pre-start up, start-up and early stage businesses. Both physical and virtual incubation is available to businesses primarily in the ICT and digital media community, including affordable office space, access to business support and training, networking opportunities, and other resources. For more information, visit

Impact Hub Islington

Impact Hub is an international network with more than 8,000 members from around the world. Business and entrepreneurs in London have access to advice, resources and development opportunities from over 40 Impact Hubs in dozens of cities. The collaborative network includes Impact Hub Westminster, which opened in 2011. Impact Hub Islington hosts monthly programmes and events to provide entrepreneurs and businesses with opportunities to connect. With 1,200 members, Impact Hub Islington also makes a community workspace available for entrepreneurs and businesses to meet, connect, and work. The incubator is based in a modern space located at a converted warehouse near Angel tube station in Islington. Visit for more information about Impact Hub. Continue reading “The Top Business Incubators in London”