5 reasons to start your new business in Edinburgh

As Scotland’s capital city, it is undeniable that Edinburgh is a vibrant place to live. But it is also a growing powerhouse for commerce as the city has become a hub for business start-ups. Here, we offer our top five reasons to build a new business in Edinburgh.


1.  Global cultural centre

Edinburgh has been cultivating its reputation as an artistic hub for many years now. Nothing showcases this better than its summer festivals, most of which take place in the month of August. Events such as the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe see millions of people flock to the capital from across the UK and beyond to enjoy the events.

What this means for businesses is that their pool of clients can grow a lot quicker than in other cities that do not experience the same volume of visitors. Moreover, the city’s positive attitude to the arts can allow businesses in this sector to flourish where they otherwise would not: private galleries and studios do particularly well in Edinburgh as others close across the country.

2.  Technologically advanced

The arts isn’t the only sector which can prosper in Edinburgh: science and technology start-ups would also be at home in the city. Edinburgh University is particularly keen to support innovators in science and technology, offering four business support and research centres: Edinburgh Research and Innovation, Edinburgh Technology Transfer Centre, the Scottish MicroElectronics Centre and the Edinburgh Technopole. The Technopole is located in what it describes as “naturally inspirational” parkland just south of the city centre and is designed for small and medium-sized businesses. It also offers a number of services to support small businesses as well as access to a number of resources from the University of Edinburgh and the Pentlands Science Park Facility. The city of Edinburgh itself is also very connected technologically, offering average broadband speeds of 30.3 mbps in 2013, which is well above the 24 mbps “superfast” threshold.

3.  Unrivalled business premises

As Edinburgh begins to recognise its potential as a leading business location, the amount of new office space in the city has increased rapidly. A lot of this office space is Grade A listed, which means it is fit to an incredibly high standard, is in a prime location and fully accessible. The demand for this type of office space is high: Quartermile, the luxury development in central Edinburgh, have fully pre-let their new Grade A listed space to a number of big names such as IBM and Skyscanner.

It is likely that other household names will follow their lead and build up Edinburgh’s reputation as a global business centre. Office space at a lower grade and somewhat more affordable price is also plentiful in the city centre and perfect for new businesses with high growth potential.

4.  Vast pool of talent

Edinburgh is home to three world-class universities: the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Herriot-Watt University. Queen Margaret University is also just a six-minute train ride from Edinburgh Waverley to nearby Musselburgh. These universities all have excellent reputations, both in specific fields and on a global basis: all four are in the UK’s top 100 universities, with Edinburgh in the world top 50 and Herriot-Watt in the world top 500.

This means that the city produces thousands of high-achieving graduates each year, many of whom choose to stay in the city upon completion of their studies due to the wide range of opportunities available to them. If your business is looking to take on well qualified staff or even interns on a work experience basis, look no further than these institutions to provide exceptional talent.

5.  Enthusiastic government support

Local government in Edinburgh are very supportive of new businesses and offer a number of services to help them grow. The publicly funded venture Business Gateway works with the local authority to maintain and improve Scotland’s economic growth, and runs a number of events and workshops aimed at supporting new businesses. It has a local office in Edinburgh and claims that businesses who have received their support have a survival rate beyond three years of which is much higher than the national average.

Additionally, the Prince’s Trust’s Enterprise programme works with young people aged between 18 and 30 who are unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours per week to help turn their business ideas into a reality, making Edinburgh an ideal place for young entrepreneurs. There are also a number of loan options available for new businesses, including the government-funded start-up loan scheme and the East of Edinburgh Investment Fund for local businesses.

So-called “angel investment” is also an option for new businesses in Edinburgh; the investment syndicate Archangels is headquartered in Edinburgh and they invest around £10 million each year in early-stage businesses.