It’s not exactly a secret that the United Kingdom is one of the strongest magnets for startups and SMEs looking to move their headquarters to a more business friendly environment. With our tech hubs getting so much international attention, and ‘big-deal’ companies establishing themselves within our borders, it was inevitable that global entrepreneurs would show interest.
Due Diligence Matters
There are plenty of strategic reasons that foreign companies (from North America to Asia) find the UK an attractive option, and a few of those may require making changes in your legal business structure. In some cases the differences in regulations and protections are slight – in others it could have substantial impact on your operations and financial planning.
Certain firms, such as Monsanto, have planned overseas moves to Europe by using a ‘corporate inversion’ strategy; which makes sense when you’re looking to reduce the burden of taxes on income earned abroad. Of course, it’s best to include local company law solicitors in your plans, to make certain all the options have been explored. Linkilaw has also put together an ebook to help you launch from a good business starting point, which includes descriptions of the various legal entities available in the UK.
Location, Location, Location
A variety of regional locales offer their own culture and advantages, and your choice could make a real difference depending on your infrastructure and technical needs. As with any long distance relocation, commercial leasing policies and availability of utilities, as well as neighbourhood regulations will come into play.
You should ask yourself how important the comfort level is for your workers as retention could become a factor, especially in competitive districts. When Crowdfunder UK decided to relocate from London to Cornwall, they traded proximity to clients for an office with a sea view. Now their 23-member team enjoys surfing on their lunch breaks and the business saves on rents and is closer to partners at Plymouth University. It’s expensive to move your business again once it’s been set up, so choosing well the first time is important.
You have a lot to gain. The UK government strives to incentivise those who would contribute to the local economy (while positioning the nation as a new business hub to be reckoned with). From enterprise zones and low corporate tax rates to newly relaxed visa schemes attracting exceptional tech talent, the ‘race is on.’
Detailed government details are available on why and how to bring your business to the UK, including the following categories:
- The #1 European destination for inward investment – reports and infographic on comparative investment locations and UK growth
- What international businesses say about the UK – video of 5 global investors giving their reasons why they chose the UK as a business location.
- Opportunities in different industries – detailed link list about specific investment possibilities in fields from aerospace to waste management.
- Tax in the UK – a current corporate tax rate of 20% is ½ that of the U.S.! Also described are Value Added Tax (VAT), R&D tax credits, and patent box benefits.
- Skills and recruitment – not only does the UK have a workforce topping thirty million people, it has created extremely flexible labour laws allowing companies to employ in ways that best suit their operations.
- Getting help from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) – free services for companies looking to invest or locate in the UK; including tax and location advice, visa applications, staff recruitment, market opportunities, etc.
- Infrastructure development in the UK – railway, air transport and ports industries are booming
- Entrepreneurs and graduates – eligibility for global entrepreneur and Sirius programmes.
- Exporting from the UK – the same business support is provided for exporters
- Finding a location for your business – enterprise zone information, etc.
- Registering a business in the UK – name regulations, licencing and permissions
- Visas and migration – instruction links for investors and entrepreneurs, general representatives of your overseas firm and general visas. Do you need a visa?
- Financial support – including grants, startup loans, private equity, business angels, UK regional growth funding, and business support.
- Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) – trademarks, copyrights and patents