The Wokingham Paper

Reading judged to be a really friendly place to do business in pan-European survey

Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock with Sanofi's leadership team outside the new HQ in Thames Valley Park, Earley

WOKINGHAM has played a part in helping its neighbour to be crowned Europe’s second most business-friendly small city in a comprehensive survey. 

It is the relocation of companies such as Sanofi to business parks within Wokingham borough that helped Reading be given the silver position in the fDi’s European Cities and Regions of the Future 2020/21 rankings. It came behind Brighton and ahead of Bracknell. 

The rankings aim to find the most promising cities and regions for future inward investment (fDi) across the whole of Europe. 

Small Cities are defined as a population between 100,000 and 350,000. The most business-friendly cities are those that boast thriving high-tech and knowledge economies, attract inward investment and create new jobs.

The survey noted the relocation of global companies such as KPMG, Sanofi, Virgin Media, Nokia and Ericsson to the greater Reading in the last two years, with bases being set up in Green Park and Thames Valley Park, among others. 

Overall, Reading was ranked 5th among the fDi’s Small European Cities of the Future 2020/21, while it also placed 7th for connectivity, 8th for human capital and lifestyle and 10th for overall FDI Strategy.

Human Capital and lifestyle is judged by measures such as education, employment levels, ability to attract and retain talent and health indices. Connectivity is defined by transport infrastructure and connections, access to airports, as well connectivity and digital infrastructure. Overall fDi strategy is the work done at a local level by organisations such as Reading UK to make Reading attractive to investment.

Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director of Reading UK, which submitted Reading’s application to the awards, said: “The fDi Awards are an excellent indicator of the strength of Reading’s economy, with connectivity, lifestyle, the ability to attract a talented workforce and an existing high-tech knowledge economy base, attracting global businesses in recent years and creating the bedrock for future investment and continued growth.

“The Awards recognise the fact that Reading is among the top five business cities of its size in Europe and that in terms of connectivity, workforce and lifestyle, in particular, we have taken major steps forward in the last two years.  

With Crossrail, Reading West Station, quicker mainline series to London, investment in a Smart M4, new park and ride facilities and many other developments, Reading will be looking to grow its international business profile in the coming years.”

The 2020/21 rankings can be found at 

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