Reading rated one of Europe’s top 25 business cities of the future

15 February 2016

Reading has been ranked among the top 25 European business cities of the future for foreign direct investment (fDI) in the bi-annual report produced by the Financial Times.

The bi-annual FDI European Cities of the Future Awards 2016/17 rank cities of all sizes across Europe against a number of business criteria to assess the attractiveness of each location for future investment and ranks Reading 21st, the 3rd best placed UK city.

Reading was named in the FDI’s Top 25 European cities in the previous two rankings (2012 and 2014) and has retained its status in 2016. In this year’s awards, Reading was also named the second most business friendly small city in Europe based on factors such as the number and proportion of companies in high tech and knowledge-based industries, jobs created by investment, foreign direct investment, ease of doing business and the number of FT Global companies located.

Overall, Reading was ranked in six categories in this year’s awards:-

  • 2nd Small European Cities of the Future - Business Friendliness
  • 8th Northern European Cities of the Future                                 
  • 7th Small European Cities of the Future                                                  
  • 9th Small European Cities of the Future - Economic Potential
  • 7th Small European Cities of the Future - Human Capital and Lifestyle
  • 21st Overall ranking in European Cities of the Future

The awards were based on measures such as economic potential, labour force, education, lifestyle, connectivity, digital networks, business friendliness and cost effectiveness.

Sue Brackley, Economic Development Manager for Reading UK CIC, the organisation which submitted Reading’s application to the 2016 Awards, said: “These awards recognise Reading’s compelling offer to business and investors – a base in the UK’s top performing knowledge economy alongside major blue chip companies; access to a workforce that is nearly 50% university-educated; Grade A real estate options with two million sq ft of new offices being built around the new station; excellent transport connectivity; and world-class research. Equally important for business is the vibrant urban environment, heritage and cultural scene and surrounding beautiful countryside, which makes Reading such an attractive place to live and work.”

A measure of Reading’s success are the current international investments:-

  • Winnersh Triangle business park – owned by Patrizia (Germany)
  • Green Park business park – owned by Oxford Properties (Canada)
  • Chatham Place – many of the residential units have been bought by international investors
  • Proposed investment in an International Convention Centre at Reading FC (Thailand)

In addition, large UK investors such as M&G Real Estate, Benson Elliott (Stanhope partner - Station Hill), Brockton Capital (with Landid -Thames Tower), Titan Properties, Berkeley Homes, Standard Life, Legal and General, Aberdeen Asset Management, McKay Securities, Kier Property and many more are investing massively in Reading.

This investment has attracted major businesses to relocate to Reading with February’s announcement that both Bayer and Thales will be relocating to Reading’s Green Park the most recent example of inward investment.

Reading UK CIC is the economic development company for Reading promoting inward investment into Reading. This includes marketing Reading to business, ensuring the labour market has the skills necessary to support business needs and providing business investment support and intelligence.

Foreign direct investment (fDI) is a direct investment into production or business in a country by an individual or company of another country, either by buying a company in the target country or by expanding operations of an existing business in that country. These awards rank Reading as a leading European location for business investment.

The results have been published on fdiintelligence.com and will be in the February issue of fDi Magazine. The award will be presented at a special event in March.