The Business Evolution of Edinburgh and Business Opportunities
Date : Aug 26, 2020
Author : Isaac Addo
Edinburgh is such an appealing city in terms of aesthetics with an ancient castle and beautiful hills accompanied by a craggy coastline. In recent times, this is also known as a very modern and cosmopolitan city where the old is most certainly making way for the new with a neat grid system changing the perspective of the city.
While Glasgow is more economically significant, Edinburgh is the most talked-about city in recent decades. After all, Edinburgh is the fastest growing city in Scotland with a population of over 500,000, and this rise is even quicker than we see in London.
The Vitality Index also labelled Edinburgh as the best prospect for economic growth in the UK. This index by Lambert Smith Hampton is a study of the health of cities and takes factors such as affluence, productivity, education and entrepreneurialism into account. Access to a substantial workforce is said to be one of the most important factors for business opportunities in Edinburgh, which has fueled a demand for property.
But let’s rewind just a little so that we can better understand the growth of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh: Innovation and the “Athens of the North”
Edinburgh was once a medieval town and one that sustained hundreds of attacks from relentless enemies. In time, markets began to crop up in the capital and the general population was enticed to the city by the opportunity to buy or sell along with the attraction of theatre and entertainment. As markets swelled and the transport system excelled, Edinburgh became a hive of trading activity for merchants near and far.
In the 18th century, Edinburgh was nicknamed “the Athens of the North” due to the lofty ideals, culture, art and literature in the region. It’s also now home to the Scottish parliament, and this is mostly to do with the strength of the economy.
Over the past ten years, employment has increased by 23%, and this has more than bolstered the university culture, which has made this a powerhouse for innovation in particular. It’s another reason why Edinburgh entices companies. For instance, the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, comes from this region. Also, Skyscanner was based here before a $1.7 billion sale to a Chinese travel firm, and these are merely examples of success in this regard.
At the same time, the talent pool is another important factor for the growth of Edinburgh in recent times. You see, the city is famous for the University of Edinburgh but also the School of Informatics, Napier University and Heriot-Watt University. Tech Nation also recently outlined how Edinburgh plays host to 17% of the highest-growth firms in the UK, not to mention 360+ startups and 25,000+ digital workers!
And this is all good news for landlords and property developers, but this overall economic health has benefited the city in every other way. For instance, between 2012 and 2017, the number of registered businesses has increased by 18.2% in Edinburgh, which is significantly more than the 10.5% average for Scotland as a whole.
Dominant Sectors for Business Opportunities in Edinburgh for 2020
Edinburgh has experienced a surge in Fintech enterprises which seems to have coincided with the rising number of tourists/students in the city. Just so you know, the University of Edinburgh went from 27,000 to 34,500 students in just the past ten years and similar numbers can be found in other universities. It’s still very early stages for the financial system and technology, which makes this an appealing consideration for startups or entrepreneurs with the right skills and resources.
Tourism is another strong performer and likely to grow with more than 3 million visitors to the city each year. It’s not just the city itself that visitors find appealing but also the fact that Edinburgh is a gateway to everywhere else in Scotland. With this in mind, online and offline tourism services will always be in great demand.
Unsurprisingly, Edinburgh is the focus of immense house-building for commercial clients. Also, in recent years, over 65% of residential properties sold in Scotland took place in Edinburgh. Any services or products that can provide value to the real estate industry in Edinburgh is likely to find great reward.
And then there’s CodeBase – the largest tech incubator in the UK which assists many big clients such as Par Equity, Pentech Ventures, and Archangels. Moreover, the Creative Exchange, Techcube and the Melting Pot which are similar workplaces in which digital businesses can grow and thrive in Edinburgh.
But what business, in particular, might be worth thinking about for startups?
Business Opportunities in Edinburgh for Startups
Online Training and Management – Online training is a frugal area that helps businesses track, improve and define practice in the workplace. e-Learning is an excellent example in this instance, for the startup raised over $7 million in recent years. Appointedd is another successful startup that works with online management and booking for businesses which highlight the increased need for online courses for companies in Edinburgh.
Web-Based Accounting and Financial Services
It’s no secret that the Fintech industry is blowing up in Edinburgh. Many web-based accounting firms are also taking advantage of the economic growth in Edinburgh. FreeAgent is an example of a digital accounting service for entrepreneurs and small businesses. In just a few short years, this impressive startup has raised over $10 million, mostly from an IPO in 2016.
Tech companies are everywhere in Edinburgh, and the ID Co raised $9.1 million to give people more control and protection over their identity and data.
Consultancy is also growing at the same rate as business registration in Edinburgh. Sharein is a platform that is trying to take advantage of this growth by helping businesses raise funds from new investors. Needless to say, there are hundreds of avenues when it comes to starting a new business in the tech space.
Analytics and Data Startups
Algorithms and analytics are the driving force of every marketing campaign regardless of the industry. Providing access to this data is essential, and several startups are tasked with measuring and creating strategies for certain opportunities for clients. For example, TVSquared helps television advertisers optimize their adverts, while Topolytics uses geospatial analytics and mapping to identify gas leaks or hazardous material.
It’s true that Glasgow is bigger and more powerful in terms of the economy, but business opportunities in Edinburgh is arguably better for finding access to highly skilled workers. What’s more, this is possibly a more convenient gateway to Scotland for international investors and an exciting hub that provides greater opportunities for networking in particular. Finally, there’s a good reason why so many studies mention Edinburgh in the same breath as world-leading economies which makes this city not only appealing to tourists but also students, investors, business owners from all over the world.