Business in Cambridge

Cambridge's pretty cityscape is dominated by the spire of the Old Lady and the English Martyrs Church, the elegant King's College Chapel and the Cambridge University Library. Founded in 1209, Cambridge University is one of the world's top universities. Along with education, Cambridge is the heart of a high-technology cluster with leading software and bioscience industries.

Cambridge's Economy

Cambridge has a diverse economy with strong research and development, software, engineering, creative industries, and pharmaceuticals sectors. As one of the UK's most beautiful and historic cities, Cambridge also has a significant tourism sector. With more than 50 per cent of the workforce holding a higher education qualification, Cambridge's economy is driven by talent. This is largely supported by the world renowned University of Cambridge, which also helps start-up companies get off the ground. In the Centre for Cities Economic Outlook 2012, Cambridge ranked second on the list of 'Cities to Watch' based largely on the high percentage of knowledge workers, educated residents, and business start-ups.

The city and surrounding area are the home of thousands of high-tech businesses. Businesses based in the so-called Cambridge Cluster or Silicon Fen are largely active in software, electronic and biotechnology. Cambridge also has a number of technology incubators and science parks, many of which are linked with Cambridge University. Owned by Trinity College, Cambridge Science Park is the largest commercial research and development centre in Europe. St John's College also hosts the St John's Innovation Centre, while Microsoft has its Microsoft Research UK offices in West Cambridge. Most businesses in the cluster are small and only a handful of businesses are multinationals, including ARM, Autonomy Corporation, AVEVA and CSR.

The local economy and its health and bioscience sectors are also bolstered by the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, one of the world's largest biomedical research clusters. Focused on leading and innovative health science and medical research, the campus is managed by the University of Cambridge. It includes a large number of institutes, colleges and centres such as the Wellcome Trust Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, Addenbrooke's Hospital, the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, and many others.

Most jobs in the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough area are in the services sector, according to the Office for National Statistics. Approximately 83.9 per cent of jobs in the area are in this sector, with top employers being the financial and business services sector and public administration, education and health services. Wholesale and retail accounts for 16.6 per cent of jobs, while manufacturing represents about 10.4 per cent. In 2015, the region was home to more than 58,200 enterprises. Of these businesses, 88.5 per cent were micro enterprises with nine or fewer employees. Some 205 large enterprises or 0.4 per cent of all businesses with 250 or more employees were based in the area. Small and medium sized enterprises with between 10 and 249 employees numbered 1,195 and accounted for 11.2 per cent of all businesses in the region.

Cambridge's Infrastructure

Cambridge is linked to London via the A14 road, which joins the M11 motorway north-west of the city centre. The A14 is a major freight route that connects Cambridge with Felixstowe, a major container port on the east coast. The road also links the area with the Midlands. The A10 also links Cambridge with London, while the A428 connects it with Bedford and St Neots. Cambridge railway station offers direct links to London's King's Cross and Liverpool Street stations in under an hour. Trains services are also available to Birmingham, Leicester, Peterborough, Ipswich and London Stansted Airport. New services from Cambridge to Brighton and Gatwick Airport via London St. Pancras are expected by 2018. Opening in late 2016, the new Cambridge North station will provide a new transport option to the Cambridge Science Park.

Support for Businesses

Cambridge City Council provides a range of services to help businesses. The council lets business centres, light industries units, office suites and retail properties throughout the city, and the city's building control service helps businesses ensure their premises are accessible. The council also has advertising, sponsorship and event promotion opportunities. Online and classroom-based training courses covering a range of topics are also provided by the council. The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership helps local businesses as well as education providers and the public sector with the aim of driving sustainable economic growth. The local enterprise partnership (LEP) provides data and intelligence on local skills as well as funding to businesses. Funding is available through the Growing Places Fund, Agri-Tech Grants, and the LEP Prize Challenge Fund. The LEP has also launched an online resource to help start-up and growing businesses in the Cambridge area find supports for training and financing.