Reasons for Startups and SMES to Choose Exeter as Their Base

July 25th, 2016

Basepoint Business Centre ExeterExeter might be best known as a beautiful and historic cathedral city, but increasingly it is also seen as a place to do business. It is one of the latest locations to become known as a hub for digital startups, after Google Startup Weekend was staged at the University of Exeter in 2015. That event helped to put the city on the map as a high-tech location and has encouraged more companies to consider locating in office space in Exeter.

The University of Exeter is a major employer and focus of scientific knowledge. The city is also a base for a number of major organisations and companies, including the Met Office, independent airline Flybe and EDF Energy. High levels of skill, major investment and good transport links are all attractions for businesses choosing Exeter as a location.

Exeter’s Advantages for Business

The city of Exeter has a population of around 125,000 people, with thousands more commuting into the city from the surrounding area. It has been named in surveys as an area showing a strong growth potential and has seen employment grow faster than most other areas over recent years. A £2 billion development programme for Exeter and East Devon, spearheaded by the public-private partnership Exeter and East Devon Growth Point, is on course to create 25,000 new jobs locally in the next decade.

As one of the UK’s top 10 universities, with a worldwide reputation, Exeter University has built a leading reputation in fields including IT and digital multi-media, biotechnology, engineering and medicine. Exeter College also has a technology centre, putting a focus on engineering and aerospace courses, run in partnership with Flybe.


Exeter is known as a hub of transport in the South West, which is one of its attractions for companies moving to the area. Many people moving out of London are tempted by the beautiful countryside and the lifestyle, but reassured that they will not be too remote.

Road Links: The M5 motorway connects Exeter to Bristol, with an average journey time of around 90 minutes, and also to Birmingham. If driving to London, you can either join the M4 at Bristol or use the A30, A303 and M3 as a more direct route.

Rail Services: Exeter is particularly well served by the railways, with three main rail stations and six smaller suburban ones. Fast trains to London Paddington take around 2 hours and 15 minutes, while slower services to London Waterloo typically take around an hour longer. There are also direct trains to other main locations, including cities in the Midlands. Local train services have recently been improved.

Airport: An advantage for businesses based in the area is the closeness to Exeter International Airport, just 4 miles east of the city. Flights to a number of European destinations, as well as other UK airports, regularly take off from here. Around a million passengers use the airport each year.

Skilled Workforce

As a university city with a strong scientific base, Exeter has a high level of skill among its workforce. A large amount of world-class research is carried out in the area. In one survey carried out across Devon, 89% of employers said their staff had all the skills they needed to carry out their roles effectively. Within Exeter itself, almost 40% of employees are educated to NVQ Level 4 or over, above both regional and national averages.

Major sectors of employment include public administration, finance and insurance and health and social work. Many people in Exeter also work in the utilities sector, including water as well as gas and electricity.

A variety of high-tech firms are based in the area, with the city council working hard to encourage more startups into the area. The SETSquared partnership, involving Exeter working together with other universities in the South of England, has given many tech companies support during their early stages. Entrepreneurs wanting to take advantage of the skills base in Exeter and startup companies here can get support and information from Exeter and East Devon Growth Hub.

Office Space in Exeter

Companies looking for office space in Exeter may find it hard to find somewhere which suits all their requirements. There has been concern over a lack of space in the city and across the South West. However, if you are an SME owner looking for somewhere which offers flexible terms at competitive prices, moving into Basepoint’s Exeter business centre could give you the facilities you are looking for.

Basepoint’s centre is conveniently located at Marsh Barton Trading Estate, close to the M5 and A38, and is ideally situated for driving into the city centre. It offers a whole range of business support services and has a range of serviced office to let and workshop units in different sizes.

Office Space in Exeter – Follow the link for information on our Exeter business centre and our easy, flexible terms.