Croydon is the fastest growing technology hub after Hackney.
The Information and Communication sector is the third largest sector in Croydon, and since 2011, it has grown 25 per cent, against the London average of 17 per cent and the UK average of 11 per cent. The 185 businesses employ 1,384 people and in addition, there are a further 600 information and communication businesses, which are home startups.
Matthew McMillan, who secures investment for Croydon council, says: “Hackney had it all around 2000. Its growth was driven by cheap accommodation, cheap housing, bars making it easier to network and good infrastructure.”
“Croydon is in stage two of its progression after its initial birth. There are lots of new interesting types of businesses coming to the area.”
The new businesses include Smart Dresser, a virtual changing room app, MoJo Bones, games developer house and VideoGamer, Europe’s largest independent video game site.
Croydon has 1.1 million people living within a 30-minute commute of the borough and 25 per cent of all Londoners can get to Croydon quickly thanks to the opening of the east London line, making it a prime location for startups.
As well as new technology ventures, Croydon is soaring in the construction sector in comparison to its neighbouring boroughs. With 7.9 million square foot of office space, the third biggest office space outside of the City and west London, it makes Croydon a driver for big businesses like construction companies to set up.
“Construction has always been big. The borough delivers good occupancy, good pricing compared to London and good links to London,” McMillan says. “Croydon can get the staff and pay them more. There is one third off office costs in comparison with London, and there are national connections and motorways nearby.”
Engineering is the biggest industry in Croydon with the eighth biggest cluster in the UK; the finance and insurance sector is the second largest. Croydon has notable businesses such as Amex, Barclays, Goldman Sachs and AON employing in excess of 250 staff.