Brighton businesses buoyant but traffic congestion threatens growth, says Coffin Mew survey
Eighty per cent of Brighton’s businesses are predicting significant growth over the next 12 months, yet a poor traffic network and excessive congestion threaten to hold businesses back. That is the message from Coffin Mew’s inaugural Brighton Business Pulse survey.
Coffin Mew, which opened its Brighton office in May 2015, surveyed business leaders across Brighton and Hove in early summer 2016 for their predictions, hopes and fears for the future of their business and their city.
Coffin Mew’s Brighton Business Pulse reports that businesses are confident for the future, love their city, yet wish that transport infrastructure and traffic problems could be greatly improved.
Growth is very much at the forefront of business leaders’ minds, with 80 per cent predicting growth of between 10 and 50 per cent. A further 40 per cent plan on hiring new staff, with an impressive 65 per cent planning on launching a new product or service.
Just under half (44 per cent) of businesses surveyed plan on raising finance to fund growth, with a third looking to VCs and business angels, a quarter turning to their bank, and a fifth choosing peer to peer lending.
Brighton Business Pulse asked business leaders what they believe the advantages are of having their business in Brighton and Hove. Over half (53 per cent) benefit from the proximity to their customers, a quarter (24 per cent) take advantage of the skilled talent pool, and equally, 16 per cent referenced access to suppliers, ease of accessing international markets and Brighton’s excellent connectivity.
Our survey shows a business community confident and excited about their future prospects. Brighton has a highly educated and entrepreneurial workforce, with a large number of start-up and small businesses. It makes for a vibrant and attractive place to live and work.
Yet there are frustrations. Brighton’s traffic congestion is the biggest bug bear, with 63 per cent saying it is singularly the biggest problem they face. A further 43 per cent believe that commercial rents are too high, with 20 per cent struggling to find suitable space.
Better roads, more parking, an improved rail infrastructure, and more commercial office space are all needed to allow Brighton’s business community to continue to grow. This will be even more of a priority if the city is to attract larger and more internationally focused businesses.
Brighton’s growing tech sector – dubbed Silicon Beach – continues to thrive and attract talent into the city. The proximity to great universities and a well educated workforce contribute to its success.
But as tech entrepreneur and founder of sports tech company Double Six Hassan Rajwani told Brighton Business Pulse Brighton does need a tech champion. He said:
The one thing Brighton needs is a successful tech business that reaches out and inspires others to follow.
Follow the link to read the full analysis of Coffin Mew’s Brighton Business Pulse.