UK businesses are being welcomed with open arms to New York, a city buzzing with entrepreneurial energy and huge opportunity
Business runs through the veins of New York City. Since the Dutch founded it as a commercial trading post in 1624, NYC has been one of the most vibrant, entrepreneurial and exciting cities on the planet. The city has one of the world’s largest international business communities and its mayor Michael Bloomberg is making overtures to smaller, fast-growth businesses like yours. Is it time for your business to start spreading the news?
If you’re thinking about expanding to NYC, you’re in good company. There are more than 2,800 international firms with presences in NYC and they employ 275,000 people; one out of 10 private sector jobs in NYC is with a foreign company. Last year New York was ranked as the most attractive city for business and innovation, above Paris, Tokyo and London, according to Japan’s Mori Memorial Foundation’s second Global Power City Index.
London to NYC
The city itself is certainly looking to attract more international fast-growth firms. An initiative from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) – The World to NYC – aims to promote trade and investment between NYC and the global economy by hosting business delegations from cities around the world. It has partnered with Glasshouse, a UK membership group for entrepreneurs, on the first of these visits.
Next month, a group of small, fast-growth British businesses will spend a week in New York learning as much as possible about how to expand into the city. Richard Edwards, managing director of Glasshouse, says the trade mission will give entrepreneurial UK businesses the tools to be able to land in New York and get up and running very quickly. “It can be tough to do that unless you have an inside track or a helping hand,” he says.
Delegates will learn about the layout of the city, be introduced to the business community, and meet influential people who could help in the growth of their business.
“So for an advertising business, for example, you might want to meet senior guys in publishing. We’ll create roundtable events with senior representatives of relevant industries and our group will be able to interact with them and set up further meetings, so they can start meaningful conversations,” adds Edwards.
Edwards also notes that although NYC should be a serious consideration for any business wanting to access the US market, there are a few sectors the city is particularly keen on attracting: technology (“NY has arguably lost out a bit on tech and is trying to play catch-up,” says Edwards), fashion, retail, financial services, green, bioscience and media.
Reggie James is founder and managing director of digital advertising agency Digital Clarity, founded in 2003. For him, opening a New York office last year was a no-brainer. “NYC has always been the hub of the advertising industry worldwide, and we believed having a foothold there would help add weight to the company’s activities in the UK, as well as open up new revenue streams in a mature market,” he explains. “We also believed it would be advantageous to be close to the sales and marketing hubs of the major search and social media companies.
“But, essentially, New York is one of the main creative centres for our kind of business. There is a very large talent pool and access to an enormous range of major brands. Many of the industry’s most important events take place in the city.”
It was a previous trade visit to NYC – Digital Mission NY – that gave James the confidence and know-how to venture to the US.
“They organised a great line-up of expert contacts. We also met UK companies who were already established in NY, and were able to learn from their experiences directly. In addition, speakers from major brands such as Twitter, Pepsi, and Google talked to us specifically about the importance of working in NY and the links between there and London.”
James now describes the visit as “invaluable”, noting that it provided delegates with top quality new contacts and led to a number of new business opportunities, accelerating the processes and helping overcome hurdles with advice on issues such as company formation and accounting procedures.