Law Firm in India

United Kingdom - Market Entry & Business Opportunities

June 19, 2023 | Corporate & Commercial Law

The regulatory and business environment in the United Kingdom supports good business, flexible labor market, encourage creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit but starting a business in the UK could be a complex affair especially if you are from outside of the European Union.

The United Kingdom (UK) is a diverse country located in north-western Europe, comprising Great Britain, north-eastern Ireland, and smaller islands. With London as its capital, English is the official language spoken by the majority of the population. The UK has a population of around 66.8 million, consisting of various ethnic groups, including White British, Asian/Asian British, and Black/African/Caribbean/Black British communities. The country covers an area of approximately 243,610 square kilometres and uses the British Pound Sterling (£) as its currency. The population of the UK grew by 0.4% in 2022 according to the World Bank.

Economic Overview

The UK had a GDP of £2.23 trillion in 2022, making it the world's fifth-largest economy. It experienced a severe 11% contraction in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but rebounded with a growth rate of 7.6% in 2021. The unemployment rate returned to pre-pandemic levels of less than 4%. However, inflation reached a 41-year high of 11.1% in October 2022, indicating a growing cost of living crisis. The UK's GDP growth is projected to decline by -0.3% in 2023 due to household income pressures and previous interest rate hikes. Long-term challenges include skills shortages, declining workforce participation, and an aging population, posing risks to the country's economic outlook.

Market Overview

The United Kingdom is a significant global trading power with the fifth-largest economy worldwide. It has a population of 67 million and a GDP of $3.2 trillion in 2021. Despite challenges from Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, and high inflation, the UK remains an important market for American exports. US exports to the UK totalled $129.3 billion in 2021, with the UK ranking seventh among export destinations for American goods and leading in trading services. The UK economy has implemented reforms to attract foreign businesses and investors, despite uncertainties surrounding Brexit and the pandemic. The UK is known for its leadership in business, education, innovation, and scientific research. However, it has faced economic challenges such as weakened demand, rising prices, and trade barriers related to Brexit.

Bilateral Relations between India-United Kingdom

  • In September 2019, the UK TechXchange was launched. It is a start-up launchpad enabling start-ups, investors, incubators and entrepreneurs of the two countries to network for expanding their business.
  • In April 2022, an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India and the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy of the UK. The MoU aimed to establish cooperation on the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, facilitating collaboration in the field of nuclear energy between the two countries.
  • The two countries have launched the Young Professional Scheme enabling professional of both countries to live and work in the other country for a period of up to 2 years.
  • During the G20 Summit in Indonesia, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had his first meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The leaders recognized and emphasized the lasting significance of the Indo-UK relationship.

Taxation and Subsidies offered by the UK

The United Kingdom has a progressive taxation system, with different tax rates based on income levels. Income tax rates range from 20% to 45%, while National Insurance Contributions (NICs) vary depending on employment status and income. Value Added Tax (VAT) is set at a standard rate of 20%, with reduced rates for specific goods and services. The UK levies Corporation Tax at a standard rate of 19% for the tax year 2023/24. Capital Gains Tax applies to asset sales, and Inheritance Tax is imposed on estates. To promote economic growth, innovation, and sustainability, the UK offers various subsidies and support programs. These include R&D Tax Credits, providing tax relief on eligible R&D expenses; the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) offering tax incentives for investing in small, high-risk businesses; regional development grants; renewable energy subsidies; export finance support; apprenticeship levy; regional growth funds; Innovate UK funding for innovation and research; and sector-specific initiatives. The UK also provides support for exports, start-ups, scale-ups, green businesses, skills and training, and specific sectors. These measures aim to create a favourable business environment, encourage investment and innovation, and support economic development in the UK.

Financing Business In United Kingdom

The United Kingdom offers support and incentives for young entrepreneurs, making it an attractive destination for start-ups. London's status as a global financial hub provides access to funding and investment opportunities. The government has proposed the National Investment Fund to assist businesses, while start-up loans, mentorship, and support services are available. Innovate UK offers funding for various sectors, encouraging innovation. Despite Brexit, UK-based companies continue to attract investors, with significant venture capital investments in the technology sector. The UK's supportive ecosystem, financial resources, government initiatives, and thriving technology sector contribute to a favourable environment for young entrepreneurs.

Top 10 Companies In United Kingdom – 2022

Rank    Company    Industry    Annual Revenue (USD)
1 Shell    Oil and Gas $ 384.07 B
2 BP Oil and Gas $ 248.31 B
3 Tesco    Retail    $ 82.08 B
4 HSBC    Banking & Financial Services $ 62.74 B
5 Unilever    Consumer Goods $ 58.20 B
6 Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals $ 43.83 B
7 Sainsbury’s    Retail    $ 39.27 B
8 Imperial Brands Tobacco    $ 36.35 B
9 GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals $ 34.70 B
10 Linde    Chemicals    $ 33.34 B

Most Popular E-Commerce Companies In United Kingdom – 2022

RANK    COMPANY    Headquarter
1 Amazon    USA
2 Ebay    USA
3 Argos    United Kingdom
4 Etsy    USA
5 Next    United Kingdom
6 Tesco    United Kingdom
7 Marks and Spencer United Kingdom
8 John Lewis United Kingdom
9 Dunelm    United Kingdom
10 Just Eat United Kingdom

Top 5 Start-Ups In United Kingdom – 2022

RANK    COMPANY    Description    FOUNDED IN
1 Atoa    Fintech    2022
2 NCLE    Edtech    2022
3 Chattermill    Artificial Intelligence 2015
4 Nothing    Technology    2020
5 Modulr    Information-Communication Technology 2014

Business Clusters In United Kingdom

These vibrant clusters contribute to the country's diverse business landscape and promote sector-specific excellence, attracting investment and driving forward technological advancements.

  • London: Global financial hub, fintech and tech start-up magnet
  • Silicon Fen (Cambridge): Thriving technology and life sciences cluster.
  • Oxford: Strong presence in biotech, healthcare, and advanced engineering.
  • Manchester: Diverse cluster in digital, creative industries, and advanced manufacturing.
  • Edinburgh: Financial services hub, tech start-ups in software development and AI.
  • Bristol and Bath: Aerospace and advanced engineering cluster.
  • Birmingham: Strong presence in manufacturing, automotive, digital tech, and professional services.
  • Leeds: Financial and legal centre, digital and tech start-ups.
  • Glasgow: Cluster in finance, renewable energy, creative industries, and healthcare.
  • Liverpool: Key hub for trade, maritime and offshore engineering, creative and digital sectors.
  • Southampton: Major port city with maritime cluster, growing digital and tech sector.
  • Sheffield: Advanced manufacturing in metals, engineering, precision manufacturing
  • Reading: Technology and innovation hub, strong presence of tech companies.
  • Newcastle upon Tyne: Technology, digital innovation, and creative industries.
  • Edinburgh BioQuarter: Hub for medical research, healthcare innovation, and biotechnology.
  • Cardiff: Diverse cluster in finance, professional services, media, and creative industries.
  • Belfast: Growing technology and digital sector, focus on cybersecurity and fintech.

How To Start A Business In The Uk?

United Kingdom is a known location for leading businesses. Its leading position is due to highly attractive conditions for business and investments they offer through limited restrictions, ease of partnering with a local firm and incentives that encourage setting up businesses. The following steps describe the broad procedure of setting up a business in UK:

  • Choosing a Business Structure
  • Incorporating your Business
  • Opening a Business Bank Account
  • Registering for Taxation

To know more about our services and how we can help you in United Kingdom– CLICK HERE

Best Locations To Set Up Business In United Kingdom

The United Kingdom offers several excellent locations to set up a business, each with its own unique advantages.

  • London: Global financial hub, diverse talent pool, and business ecosystem.
  • Edinburgh: Strong in finance, technology, and tourism, highly educated workforce.
  • Manchester: Thriving digital and creative sectors, lower cost of living.
  • Birmingham: Major business and financial centre, strong manufacturing and engineering sector.
  • Bristol: Vibrant tech and creative scene, focus on sustainability and green technologies.
  • Cambridge: Technology and biotech hotspot, renowned research institutions.
  • Leeds: Thriving financial and professional services, lower cost of living.
  • Newcastle: Growing tech and digital sector, strengths in advanced manufacturing and healthcare.
  • Glasgow: Diverse economy, strengths in finance, creative industries, and renewable energy.
  • Liverpool: Rich maritime history, strengths in maritime and logistics, creative industries, and digital technology.
  • Cardiff: Thriving financial and professional services, strengths in creative industries and life sciences.
  • Oxford: Research and innovation hub, focus on technology, biotech, and pharmaceutical sectors.
  • Southampton: Major port city, strengths in maritime industries, aerospace, and advanced engineering.
  • Belfast: Growing city, strengths in technology, digital media, aerospace, and financial services.

Visa And Immigration

The UK visa application process depends a lot on the type of visa that you are applying for. Especially if your type of visa belongs to one of the Points-Based System category. Though most of the requirements are the same for each category, the way they are evaluated in the system differs. There are also additional requirements that vary from one to another category. The following visas are granted to those who wish to conduct business activities in the United Kingdom:

  • UK Innovator Visa - The UK Innovator Visa is for experienced entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. It requires endorsement from an approved body, assessing the idea's innovation and viability. No specific investment fund is required, but applicants must have enough funds to support themselves. Successful applicants receive 3 years' leave, with a potential pathway to settlement. They must develop the business according to the endorsed plan and provide progress reports. The Innovator Visa offers a chance to establish and grow innovative businesses in the UK and access its vibrant market.
  • UK Start-up Visa - The UK Start-up Visa is for aspiring entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. It requires endorsement from an approved body, assessing the idea's viability and potential. No specific investment fund is required, but applicants must have enough funds to support themselves. Successful applicants receive 2 years' leave to develop their business and gain relevant skills. Progress reports must be provided to the endorsing body. The Start-up Visa offers an opportunity to establish innovative businesses in the UK and access its supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem.
UK's diverse and vibrant business clusters, such as London, Silicon Fen, and Manchester, provide opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and growth across various industries. The UK government's initiatives, such as the Innovator Visa and Start-up Visa, further support and encourage entrepreneurship, attracting aspiring entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. By establishing a presence in the UK, businesses can tap into the country's strong financial services sector, access global markets, and benefit from the rich ecosystem of research institutions and universities. Despite uncertainties, the UK maintains its position as a leader in business, tertiary education, industrial innovation, and scientific research. Overall, the United Kingdom presents a promising market for companies looking to expand and thrive in an internationally recognized business hub.

We have built a strong network with premier law firms over the past two decades across the globe that enable us to service our clients from around the world. In the UK, we work closely with our partners Ebl Miller Rosenfalck, a reputable law firm based in London, United Kingdom that specializes in Inward and Outward Investments, Commercial Contracts, Merger and Acquisitions, Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property and Employment Law.

If you are a UK national or a company seeking legal assistance in India or an Indian planning to expand to the UK market, our firm can provide the necessary guidance and support you require.

To know more about the UK market, request a Free Detailed UK Market Entry Report by submitting a query below.

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