Borough Business Profiles

London Councils commissioned the Centre for Business and Economic Research to undertake a survey of London’s business base. The review looked at all businesses, but had a specific focus on micro-businesses, those employing less than 10 people. The review also looks at a range of indicators, including business density, specialisms and complexity, business sector, turnover, employment and business rates. 

 

Region name

Snapshot 

  • 87% of all registered business local units (495,000) across London were micro-businesses (fewer than 10 employees).
  • In non-financial services sectors micro-businesses represent a turnover of £210bn, a fifth of London’s total turn-over.
  • 43% of London’s construction sector turnover is in micro-businesses. 
  • 50% of London’s micro-businesses operate in knowledge intensive industries, 13 percentage points higher than the UK average (37%), and raising to 57% in Central London. 
  • The micro-business count grew by 50% between 2010 and 2018 across London as a whole, but with significant variations. Newham’s micro-business count was the fastest growing, expanding by 145% to 12,450 in 2018.

Individual reviews were undertaken for all 32 boroughs, plus the City of London. This provides an overview of the key sectors and maps business density down to Middle Super Output Area. Click a borough on our interactive map to read the profiles.

The summary document provides an overview for London and detail on the methodology used. (PDF)

Download the interactive Excel database for further investigation of the findings. (Excel)

Click for Barking and Dagenham business review

The borough contains nearly 7,800 registered businesses, 88% employing less than 9 people. There is a concentration of businesses in the construction, wholesale and retail sectors. However there are also a large number of micro-businesses operating within the knowledge economy, including 400 computer consultancy firms, and 260 providing management consultancy activities.   The top 10 sectors represent 90% of total employment in the borough, higher then the London average of 77%. The wholesale and retail sector is by far the largest employer, accounting for 20% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Barking and Dagenham business review (PDF)

Click for Barnet business review

The borough contains just over 24,800 registered businesses, 91% employing less than 9 people, above the London average. There is a huge contraction in the professional, scientific and technical sector. Over 1770 firms provide management consultancy activities, with a further 1300 providing computer consultancy and 1050 delivering other business support activity, overall representing 20% of the total share of borough business count. The borough has a range of clusters, including a small but growing cluster providing on-line retail services. 

Read the Barnet business review (PDF)

Click for Bexley business review

The borough contains just over 9,895 registered businesses, 88% employing less than 9 people. It has strengths in construction, as well as professional, scientific and technical sectors. Of the total share of the borough business count 17% is in computer and management activities (1320 registered firms). The wholesale and retail sector is the largest employer, accounting for 18% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Bexley business review (PDF)

Click for Brent business review

The borough contains just under 16,500 registered businesses, 89% employing less than 9 people. Of the total share of the borough business count 14% is in computer and management activities (1,770 registered firms), with a further 7% providing other business support and accounting and auditing activities (865 registered firms). There are strong clusters of artistic creation and television production within the borough.

Read the Brent business review (PDF)

Click for Bromley business review

The borough contains just over 17,000 registered businesses, 90% employing less than 9 people. The borough has strengths in professional, scientific and technical services, as well as administrative and support services, with 19% of the boroughs registered businesses providing management and computer consultancy activities (1600 firms), while health and social work is the largest sector by employment at 16%.

Read the Bromley business review (PDF)

Click for Camden business review

The borough contains just over 34,745 registered businesses, 85% employing less than 9 people. The borough shows a great diversity in its business base and a series of clear specialisms. Some are well known for example barristers and software development (respectively 8% and 2% of all businesses).  But there remains 16 industries within niche elements of manufacturing that show a comparative advantage in Camden, the most famous being Hatton Gardens’ jewellery industry. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the largest employer, accounting for 20% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Camden business review (PDF)

Click for City of London business review

The borough contains just over 27,350 registered businesses, 79% employing less than 9 people compared to a London average of 87%.  Unsurprisingly the financial and insurance sector dominates, accounting for over a third of all employment.  The City’s total economic output per registered business is over twice the London average. Unsurprisingly the financial and insurance sector is the largest employer, accounting for 35% of all employment in the borough.

Read the City of London business review (PDF)

Click for Croydon business review

The borough contains just over 16,600 registered businesses, 89% employing less than 9 people close to the London average. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Croydon when measured by total business count with the strongest representation from computer and management consultancies, plus other business support representing 22% of the boroughs total business count. The town centre represents 9% of all local units in the borough.

Read the Croydon business review (PDF)

Click for Ealing business review

The borough contains just under 19,500 registered businesses, 90% employing less than 9 people. Management and computer consultancy and other business support services activities in total represent 20% of the boroughs business count. However wholesale and retail sector is the largest employer accounting for 18% of all employment in the borough.  There are clear geographical clusters within the borough, for example on bread, pastry and cake manufacturing in the east of the borough.

Read the Ealing business review (PDF)

Click for Enfield business review

The borough contains just under 14,285 registered businesses, 88% employing less than 9 people. Business support related activities, such as management consultancy, computing and auditing represent over 20% of the businesses in terms of local units. However wholesale and retail sector is the largest employer, accounting for 20% of all employment in the borough, followed by human health and social case at over 15%. Manufacturing still represents 5% of Enfield’s employment, with 16 niche industries within manufacturing that hold a relative comparative advantage over local authorities nationally, with clusters such as the manufacture of women’s outerwear.

Read the Enfield business review (PDF)

Click for Greenwich business review

The borough contains just over 11,250 registered businesses, 89% employing less than 9 people. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Greenwich when measured by total business count with strong representation from management consultancies, architectural and engineering firms. Information and communication, wholesale and retail and construction firms are also well represented in Greenwich’s business base. The arts are within the top ten sectors by turnover and employment within the borough. The human health and social work sector is the largest employer, accounting for 17% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Greenwich business review (PDF)

Click for Hackney business review

The borough contains just over 21,145 registered businesses, 89% employing less than 9 people. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Hackney when measured by total business count with strong representation from management consultancies, specialised design, architectural and engineering firms. Computer consultancy, specialised design activities and software development together represent 16% of the borough business count. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the largest employer, accounting for 17% of all employment in the borough, with unsurprisingly a concentration in the south of the borough.

Read the Hackney business review (PDF)

Click for Hammersmith and Fulham business review

The borough contains just over 14,460 registered businesses, 86% employing less than 9 people.  Hammersmith and Fulham has a strong knowledge economy with 12 industries within professional, scientific and technical sector that hold a relative comparative advantage over local authorities nationally, and high levels of employment in these sectors.  Like many boroughs wholesale and retail sector is the largest employer, accounting for 20% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Hammersmith and Fulham business review (PDF)

Click for Haringey business review

The borough contains 13,200 registered businesses, 91% employing less than 9 people, which is above the London average. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Haringey when measured by total business count with strong representation from management consultancies, specialised design, architectural and engineering firms. Management and computer consultancy, with other business support services represent 20% of the total share of the borough business count. The wholesale and retail sector is the largest employer, accounting for 19% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Haringey business review (PDF)

Click for Harrow business review

The borough contains 15,500 registered businesses, 93% employing less than 9 people, the highest percentage of any London borough. The number of rateable properties per registered business is the lowest in London with 0.31 rateable properties per registered business. Business support activities, such as computer and management consultancy and accounting and auditing activities account for 31% of Harrow’s business count. The human health and social work sector is the largest employer, accounting for 16% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Harrow business review (PDF)

Click for Havering business review

The borough contains 10,990 registered businesses, 87% employing less than 9 people, which is the London average. The construction sector is the most prominent in Havering when measured by total business count with strong representation from electrical, plumbing and other construction installation businesses. Wholesale and retail firms are also well represented in Havering’s business base and represent 17% of all employment in the Borough.

Read the Havering business review (PDF)

Click for Hillingdon business review

The borough contains just over 15,300 registered businesses, 85% employing less than 9 people, which is the London average, and the boroughs GVA per business is significantly higher than the London average. The wholesale and retail trade sector is the most prominent in Hillingdon when measured by total business count.  High knowledge firms are also strong, with 22% of Hillingdon’s business count supplying computer, management, accounting or other business support services. Demonstrating the role of the airport and road network, transportation and storage sector is the largest employer, accounting for 17% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Hillingdon business review (PDF)

Click for Hounslow business review

The borough contains just under 14,800 registered businesses, 88% employing less than 9 people.  The information and communication sector is the most prominent in Hounslow when measured by total business count, with strong representation from computer programming (13% total borough business count) and business consultancy activity (also at 13%).  Motion picture, video and television programme businesses were also prominent in the information and communication sector.  Reflecting the proximity of Heathrow and the road network transportation and storage sector is the largest employer, accounting for 24% of all employment in Hounslow, as well as a clear cluster of wholesale fruit and vegetable businesses to the west of the borough.

Read the Hounslow business review (PDF)

Click for Islington business review

The borough contains just over 15,300 registered businesses, 85% employing less than 9 people, which is the London average. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Islington when measured by total business count and also represents 22% of all employment in the borough. There is strong representation from management consultancies, architectural, architectural and engineering and advertising firms. Islington has 12 industries within the professional, scientific and technical sector that hold a relative comparative advantage over local authorities nationally, and just under 50% of all employment is in knowledge intensive industries.

Read the Islington business review (PDF)

Click for Kensington and Chelsea business review

The borough contains just under 15,600 registered businesses, 85% employing less than 9 people, which is the London average. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Kensington and Chelsea when measured by total business count with strong representation from management consultancies which represents 11% of the boroughs total business count. There are a number of business clusters within the borough which this research highlights and 50% of the borough’s microbusinesses operate in the knowledge economy.   

Read the Kensington and Chelsea business review (PDF)

Click for Kingston business review

The borough contains just under 9,860 registered businesses, 88% employing less than 9 people, which is the London average. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Kingston upon Thames when measured by total business count with strong representation from management consultancies, architectural and engineering firms.  There is a small but growing number of firms providing on-line retails sales. The administrative and support service sector is the largest employer, accounting for 19% of all employment in Kingston upon Thames.

Read the Kingston business review (PDF)

Click for Lambeth business review

The borough contains just over 15,600 registered businesses, 87% employing less than 9 people. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Lambeth when measured by total business count with strong representation from management consultancies, specialised design, architectural and engineering firms, with a number of important niche sectors. The human health and social work sector is the largest employer, accounting for 23% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Lambeth business review (PDF)

Click for Lewisham business review

The borough contains just under 11,000 registered businesses, 91% employing less than 9 people, higher than the London average. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Lewisham when measured by total business count with strong representation from management, computer and general business consultancies, 26% of the total business count. Specialised design, architectural and engineering firms are also well represented. The human health and social work sector is the largest employer, accounting for 18% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Lewisham business review (PDF)

Click for Merton business review

The borough contains just under 12,500 registered businesses, 89% employing less than 9 people. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Merton when measured by total business count with strong representation from management, business support, booking keeping and computer consultancies firms (nearly a third the borough’s total business count), as well as  architectural and engineering firms.  Unusually for London the administrative and support sector is the largest employer, accounting for 19% of all employment in the borough. Wimbledon has 45 businesses representing head office activities in the professional, scientific and technical activities.  

Read the Merton business review (PDF)

Click for Newham business review

The borough contains just over 14,000 registered businesses, 89% employing less than 9 people.  Newham had the fastest growing business base of all of London’s boroughs, recording average annual growth of 11.1%. The administrative and support services sector is the most prominent in Newham, which is unusual for a London borough, when measured by total business count office the sector accounts for 17% of the total share of the borough business cost, highly concentrated in Stratford. However the wholesale and retail sector is the largest employer, accounting for 18% of borough employment.

Read the Newham business review (PDF)

Click for Redbridge business review

The borough contains 14,760 registered businesses, 92% employing less than 9 people, higher than the London average.  The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Redbridge when measured by total business count with for example computer consultancy representing 12% of the borough business count, and 17% in business support activities, including management consultancy and accounting.  The human health and social work sector is the largest employer in the borough, accounting for 16% of all employment.

Read the Redbridge business review (PDF)

Click for Richmond business review

The borough contains just under 14,500 registered businesses, 90% employing less than 9 people, higher than the London average. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Richmond upon Thames when measured by total business count with strong representation from business consultancies, in total representing some 28% of the borough’s business count. Over 60% of the Borough’s knowledge intensive businesses are micro-businesses. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the largest employer, accounting for 15% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Richmond business review (PDF)

Click for Southwark business review

Southwark has over 18,300 registered business, 83% employing less than 9 employees, which is lower than the London average of 87%. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Southwark when measured by total business count with strong representation from management consultancies. Specialised design activities, plus software development represents 6% of the borough’s business count. Overall the professional, scientific and technical sector is the largest employer, accounting for 22% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Southwark business review (PDF)

Click for Sutton business review

Sutton has a fairly low number of registered business, at just under 9,300, with 89% employing less than 9 people. The construction sector is the most prominent in Sutton when measured by total business count with strong representation from electrical, plumbing and other construction installation firms. The human health and social work sector is the largest employer, accounting for 17% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Sutton business review (PDF)

Click for Tower Hamlets business review

Tower Hamlets contains just over 19,200 registered businesses, 86% employing less than 9 people. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Tower Hamlets when measured by total business count. The financial and insurance sector is the largest employer, accounting for 23% of all employment in the borough. Just under 50% of employment in Tower Hamlets is defined as in Knowledge intensive industries, the second highest in London after the City. Over 50% of the knowledge intensive businesses are microbusinesses.

Read the Tower Hamlets business review (PDF)

Click for Waltham Forest business review

Waltham Forest contains just under 11,800 registered businesses, 91% employing less than 9 people. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Waltham Forest when measured by total business count with strong representation from business consultancies, overall representing 18% of the borough business count. There are small but notable clusters, for example in furniture manufacture in the south of the borough. However the wholesale and retail sector is the largest employer, accounting for 17% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Waltham Forest business review (PDF)

Click for Wandsworth business review

Wandsworth contains just over 19,000 registered businesses, 90% employing less than 9 people. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the most prominent in Wandsworth when measured by total business count. Business support activities represent the 4 largest sectors base on business count, representing 30% of the total share of the borough business count. Over 55% of all microbusinesses in the borough operate in the knowledge economy. The human health and social work sector is the largest employer, accounting for 20% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Wandsworth business review (PDF)

Click for Westminster business review

Westminster contains just under 56,600 registered businesses, 81% employing less than 9 people, lower than the London average. While Westminster has a dominate role in London’s economy it has the slowest growing of new businesses (2.6% annually), albeit from a significantly larger base. Management and Business support activities and real estate activities are both major elements based on the share of the borough business count, and both show a clear clustering within the borough. The professional, scientific and technical sector is the largest employer, accounting for 17% of all employment in the borough.

Read the Westminster business review (PDF)