Cheltenham is a thriving centre for business – from major high tech engineering firms and corporate headquarters to unique specialists in marketing, IT and communications to a huge range of smaller local businesses and some of the best shopping in the UK.
International names like Kohler Mira, Superdry and Spirax Sarco UK are all based here while global companies like Ultra Electronics and GE Aviation have major divisions here. Cheltenham has a particular tradition in engineering, and particularly aviation, dating back to the grand old firm of HH Martyn who created the Speaker's Chair in the House of Commons but also gave birth to the Gloster Aircraft Company which built Britain's first jet, the Gloster Meteor, in Cheltenham. From GAC came George Dowty whose name is still carried locally by GE Aviation's Dowty Propellers and was until recently by Safran Landing Systems.
Financial services are represented by leaders like Vertex, Chelsea (now part of Yorkshire Building Society) and Endsleigh. Innovative smaller companies include the specialist publisher Edward Elgar, and an unusually strong marketing and direct marketing sector. Renewables pioneer Tidal Lagoon Power began life in Cheltenham.
The leading public sector employer is the government’s signals intelligence agency, GCHQ, and the university sector's admissions service UCAS is also a major employer. Local names with international followings like Cheltenham Racecourse and Cheltenham Festivals also attract sponsorship, hospitality and advertising.
The town offers a buzzing commercial environment in an attractive and cosmopolitan location, with outstanding schools, more than 100 restaurants, wine bars, bistros and cafes, 15 night clubs and great communications links including direct trains to London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Bristol, a local airport and both north/south and east/west motorway links.
The town also has a growing specialism in sustainable business, technologies and expertise. Jump to the bottom of this page to meet some of Cheltenham’s green stars.
Many people and organisations work together to promote business in Cheltenham:
- As the town’s MP, Martin always saw it as his role to support local jobs and sustainable prosperity in the town. He actively promoted local companies, especially those with a positive story to tell about environmental sustainability, corporate social responsibility and community involvement.
- Cheltenham Borough Council actively supports local and relocating businesses, providing advice and support, contacts and grants in partnership with local business.
- Gloucestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is Gfirst who have won millions in funding for the local economy, runs sector-by-sector groups and host an excellent one-stop Business Zone web page for business support and advice.
- Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce are the town’s business champions and provide a network of support and contacts but also actively lobbies for projects that will help the whole town such as better rail services.
- The Federation of Small Business also has an active local branch linking many smaller businesses across the town.
- Cheltenham Business Partnership brings together the private, public and community sectors to promote the wellbeing of local people and enterprises.
- Cheltenham Connect, has a much wider remit than business, linking local organisations, enterprises and individuals to forge a stronger, more sustainable community in the south of Cheltenham – but thriving local businesses are central to their mission.
Cheltenham’s green stars
Martin is particularly proud of Cheltenham’s contribution to the growing green business sector. Here are just some of Cheltenham’s green business stars:
- Tidal Lagoon Power are developing the UK's first tidal power generating lagoon at Swansea Bay with successful community involvement and support and excellent business and environmental credentials.
- Cheltenham Catering Supplies are a competitive mainstream business with a unique environmental dimension – from 100% biodegradable cutlery, food containers, cups and bags made from corn starch, potatoes or waste sugar cane to non-toxic naturally-based alternatives to traditional cleaning products and disposables.
- Commercial group is a leading business services and office supplies provider – but with a unique and award-winning commitment to ethical business and the environment, including a commitment to reduce the company’s carbon emissions by 80% in just three years.
- Brightsource are an innovative and competitive print management company specialising in direct marketing – but with a growing specialism in accurate carbon footprinting and environmentally and ethically responsible sourcing.
- Ethical Investors are pioneers in environmentally and socially responsible investment, and redistribute 50% of their net profit to charities and good causes. They can advise on ethical pensions, ethical mortgages, ethical ISAs and other financial products for individuals, charities and ethical businesses.
- Heath Avery Architects are a successful architectural business specialising in the residential, educational and care sectors – and a pioneering approach to sustainability dating back to their building of one of the UK’s first earth-sheltered houses more than twenty years ago.
- The Natural Grocery Store specialise in natural, environmentally-friendly and organic food, drink and household goods - available online as well as in their fabulous Bath Road shop.