Did you know that the average motorist loses 36 days of their life filling up with fuel? Nope, neither did we. At least we didn’t until Richard Hammond and James May revealed that rather interesting fact in the latest episode of The Grand Tour. And being the sort of can-do guys that they are, they decided to focus all their skill and ingenuity on solving the problem by inventing a system for filling up on the move.
While the team use their UK home turf to conduct their intrepid experiment, we thought we’d share a few thoughts on how the home of Clarkson, May and Hammond could be a fertile ground for entrepreneurs.
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Despite being only a third of the size of France, the UK has always punched above its weight economically; it’s the sixth largest economy in the world by GDP. And its sea-faring island heritage has also given it a head start on the trade front – in 2016, the UK was the world’s tenth-largest goods exporter and fifth-largest importer. Not bad for a few small pieces of rock in the Atlantic Ocean.
These days, no discussion about the UK market can go too far without a mention of the 'B' word: Brexit. Admittedly, no-one can look into a crystal ball and see exactly how the country will fare once its divorce from the EU has been finalized. What we do know is that the country is naturally going to be more open to trading with a broader range of partners internationally. And early signs indicate some cause for optimism, foreign investment in the UK has soared to a record US$253.7bn since the referendum.
If you’re looking to expand internationally, the UK has to be on your consideration list. It’s home to one of the world’s largest financial centers, London. The UK capital has the highest GDP in Europe and the London Stock Exchange accounts for over US$6trn of business, making it the third largest stock exchange in the world. Whatever the future holds, the UK’s status as a global financial hub will continue to stay strong.
When you’re weighing up the opportunities in such a large, diverse market, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Well, here are a few areas that look particularly interesting right now:
You don’t get to be one of the world’s major business hubs unless you’re particularly well connected. The UK has the largest air transport system in Europe and London Heathrow is amongst the top ten busiest airports in the world, with direct connections to Europe, the US, the Middle East, China and Russia. The UK hasn’t abandoned its maritime roots either. 95% of the UK’s international imports and exports are shipped through UK ports. The UK may be surrounded by water, but it’s far from cut off.
Part of the reason for the UK’s economic success is that it actively goes out of its way to encourage foreign business. It prides itself on cutting red tape and minimizing restrictive regulations. It offers a flexible visa system and lays out the welcome mat for skilled workers, entrepreneurs and investors. And at 20%, UK corporation tax is the lowest in the G7. No jumping through hoops required.
The UK is a great place to start a business from scratch, because it automatically gives you access to a vast pool of skilled employees, the second largest workforce in Europe. It’s also remarkably competitive – the UK’s overall cost of labor is lower than in France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany.
The UK is a country with a glorious past that continues to have a massive impact on the global market. For proof of that, you need look no further than three of its current most successful international exports: Clarkson, May and Hammond.
Watch episode 7 now, exclusively on Amazon Prime Video
"You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take."
Wayne Gretzky, ice hockey player
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