Reading is Europe’s second most business-friendly small city

Reading has been named as one of the winners of the fDi’s European Cities and Regions of the Future 2020/21 rankings, recognising the factors that have attracted the relocation of global companies such as KPMG, Sanofi, Virgin Media, Nokia and Ericsson in the last two years.   

Clearwater Court Reading webThe biennial inward investment rankings has Reading as the second most business-friendly city in the fDi Small European Cities of the Future 2020/21 category.

The fDi’s European Cities and Regions of the Future ranking seeks to find the most promising cities and regions for future inward investment (fDi) across the whole of Europe. ‘Small Cities’ are defined as a population between 100,000 and 350,000. The most business-friendly cities are those that boast thriving high-tech and knowledge economies, attract inward investment and create new jobs.


Overall, Reading was ranked 5th among the fDi's Small European Cities of the Future 2020/21, while it also placed 7th for connectivity, 8th for human capital and lifestyle and 10th for overall FDI Strategy.

Human Capital and lifestyle is judged by measures such as education, employment levels, ability to attract and retain talent and health indices. Connectivity is defined by transport infrastructure and connections, access to airports as well connectivity and digital infrastructure. Overall fDi strategy is the work done locally by organisations such as Reading UK to make Reading attractive to investment.

Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director of Reading UK, which submitted Reading’s application to the awards, said: “The fDi Awards are an excellent indicator of the strength of Reading’s economy, with connectivity, lifestyle, the ability to attract a talented workforce and an existing high-tech knowledge economy base, attracting global businesses in recent years and creating the bedrock for future investment and continued growth.

“The Awards recognise the fact that Reading is among the top five business cities of its size in Europe and that in terms of connectivity, workforce and lifestyle, in particular, we have taken major steps forward in the last two years (1).  With Crossrail, Reading West Station, quicker mainline series to London, investment in a Smart M4, new park and ride facilities and many other developments, Reading will be looking to grow its international business profile in the coming years.”

The 2020/21 rankings were published on Monday 10 February on

(1) Reading was ranked in the European top ten for human capital/lifestyle as well as connectivity for the first time in the Small City category.


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