guildford open for Business A beautiful town with a top performing economy

Vibrant, innovative and well connected...

Guildford has one of the most vibrant economies in the UK, well known for its innovation and entrepreneurship. Access to investment is excellent and this shows in the number of start-up businesses who choose Guildford as their base. Just 30 miles from London, good connectivity to London Heathrow and Gatwick airports, excellent environment and quality of life - these are just some of the reasons why Guildford is a good place to do business.

5G Innovation Centre

Thriving economy...

David Bilbe, former Lead Councillor for Enterprise and Economic Development:

"The Borough’s economy is worth over £5 billion per annum this year and we have a number of notable Corporates head quartered in the town including Colgate Palmolive, Phillips, Allianz Insurance, EA Games, BOC and BAE Systems (Applied Intelligence). The town also has a significant cluster of business and financial services companies and law firms, with some specialist consultancies such as those offering tax advice for inward investment companies and patent attorneys. The Borough also has an impressive survival rate for new business start-ups at 72% (source UK Business Counts – Enterprises)."

Strong business growth...

Between 2012-2017, our business base grew by 15% with an increase in proportion of high growth sectors such as gaming, cyber security, life sciences and telecoms.

We've also seen strong growth in professional services, legal, tourism, and food and drink. The total number of jobs in the Borough stands at just over 81,000 with a total of 7,440 businesses.

Productivity, based on GVA per head, is £36,165 - above the UK and Surrey average. Guildford is consistently in the top ten of the Lambert Smith Hampton economic vitality index.

(Image of Surrey Research Park)


We have a thriving day and night time economy and work closely with our BID company, Experience Guildford. Guildford is currently bucking the trend in terms of footfall and vacancy rates. We are the only town in Surrey to hold the prestigious Purple Flag award for a safe and diverse evening and night out and our regeneration projects in the town will enhance this further.

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Leisure and tourism

When you visit Guildford in the heart of Surrey, you will find a vibrant market town offering first class shopping from designer retailers and luxury brands to unique independent outlets. The many restaurants in the area cover a wide range of international cuisine, many serving locally farmed produce.

An historic town, Guildford offers a host of attractions to visit and a chance to enjoy the surrounding countryside close by.

(Image of Guildford Castle)

Guildford Cathedral

Innovation Strategy

Cllr. Gordon Jackson – Chairman, Innovation Strategy:

"Our Innovation Strategy establishes a Vision for Guildford that embraces a digital future and promotes Guildford as being at the leading edge of innovation. The strategy aims to enable technological change and innovation to support local economic competitiveness and quality of life with a view to creating a vibrant, prosperous, resilient and sustainable borough for the digital age."

Leading edge research...

Guildford is also home to the internationally important 5G Innovation Centre located on the University of Surrey Campus. This will help drive the commercial roll-out of future mobile technologies and Internet of Things applications. The Centre hosts an impressive partner network of investors and strategic partners including Huawei, BT and Vodafone.

The University of Surrey, named UK University of the Year in 2016 by The Times, contributes over £1bn to the economy and has been the driver for much of the local area's growth. The Surrey Research Park, owned by the University, has over 120 companies located there, all of which invest significantly in research and development. The Park is also the location for the Surrey Technology Centre which has a range of dynamic early stage businesses supported by the award winning Set Squared Partnership and the Surrey 100 Angel Investor network.

University of Surrey

Attracting the best and brightest...

Guildford is one of the leading hubs for gaming companies in Europe with over 60 businesses operating locally including: Media Molecule, Supermassive Games, Criterion Studios and start-ups at Rocket Desk.

Our gaming companies come together through Galvanising Guildford Games for the Future - whose aim is to promote the Guildford games community, provide a forum for sharing insights and keep the Guildford games cluster strong on a national and international stage. You can find out more about gaming in Guildford at:

Businesses at the Surrey Research Park include BAE Systems specialist cyber security arm and Applied Intelligence. Applied Intelligence are particularly focused on cyber applications across specialist sectors such as healthcare, financial services and telecoms. The research park is also home to Surrey Satellite Technology, which has been delivering satellites for over 30 years - with 40% of the global small satellite export market.

The Borough has leading edge specialism in veterinary science, with the University Vet School, The V-Hive initiative (looking at digital applications) and the Pirbright Institute, the world renowned centre for the research and surveillance of viral diseases and translational medicine.

There is also an emerging digital and telehealth cluster with excellent opportunity for collaboration between the local NHS, the University’s Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences and a growing number of digital start-ups to collaborate.

Innovate Guildford is our free, one-day festival, showcasing advanced technologies, giving an insight into the amazing knowledge, innovation and creativity in the region.

A thriving rural economy...

Over 25% of all local jobs and business growth are in rural parts of our borough. We have developed a Rural Economic Strategy that will:

  • sustain our rural communities
  • protect our natural and built heritage
  • enable enterprise and diversification in our changing countryside

(Image of Albury Vineyard)

Get in touch

Chris Burchell - Local Economy Manager

If you would like to hear more about this vibrant and thriving Borough please do contact the Economic Development Team on 01483 444313 or email: business@guildford.gov.uk. We would be pleased to hear from you.

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