Croydon: The fast-growing hub for young companies

Croydon has the UK’s fastest-growing economy as it increasingly becomes a leading business hub for technology companies, research finds.

Croydon topped the list of 173 areas as the fastest growing UK regions with an annual growth rate of 9.3 per cent in Gross Value Added (GVA), rising to £19,800 in the last year from £18,120 the previous year, according to a study by UHY Hacker Young.

This rate is nearly three times the UK average increase of 3.4 per cent over the same period, rising to £24,960 from £24,130.

Sarah Dillingham, founder of, grew up near Croydon and has spent a lot of time in the vicinity. She remembers the social problems of the area: ‘I wouldn’t wonder around West Croydon on my own late at night for example.

‘Having said that, I have been massively impressed at the change that is happening here, and appetite of people to build business relationships.’

Dillingham says there is already a healthy start up eco-system involving existing SME and corporate businesses in the area. ‘There’s definitely a ‘Wild West’ feel, you can tell we’re at the start of something that is growing rapidly.

‘We have met some fantastic start ups, developers and support service businesses in the area, mainly through networking at local start up and business events.’

Might businesses get priced out of the area though as demand for office space increases?

‘It’s certainly possible, and we’ve seen it happen in Shoreditch. I hope that the government would put some funding into Croydon as a start up hub, it’s a massive opportunity.’

Once Boxpark opens, she expects a certain level of gentrification to follow, following a common London pattern.

‘That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as local businesses aren’t priced out, and people aren’t made to feel excluded in their own neighbourhood.’

Dillingham is encouraged by tech hub TMRW which employs people from Croydon in its coffee shop, and Croydon Tech City which is ‘on a mission to offer tech opportunities to local people’.

‘We’re playing our small part too, we hired our wonderful apprentice Courtney from Croydon College, and intend to look locally for further hires,’ she adds.

Further reading on tech hubs

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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