Like growing a healthy plant, you must consider a variety of elements when launching a startup business. Soil, climate, and support, the whole business ecosystem will feed, nourish, and help grow your dream into a reality.

In Scotland, two cities, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, both offer the kind of ‘hothouse’ atmosphere – investment, support, talent, research strength, collaborative networks – that see startup enterprises bloom into successful businesses.

Indeed, in their 2022 survey, the business website startups.co.uk rated Glasgow and Edinburgh at numbers 2 and 8 as the best places in the UK to launch a new business.

So, why choose Scotland to plant your startup business?

Right place, right time

Glasgow, Scotland’s most populous, and most multicultural city, has a long and proud history of business, engineering, and technological innovation. Where we once built some of the world’s largest and most famous ships, today we build more satellites than anywhere else in Europe. The city’s space sector is already reaching for the stars. It is growing faster than anywhere else in the UK, aiming for a value of £4billion by 2030.

According to Tech Nation, Glasgow is one of the top three fastest-growing tech investment hubs in the UK. Its strengths lie in financial technology, satellite and space technology, film, video gaming and healthcare.

Investing in the future

If you want to see that innovation in action, follow the money. Global banking giant Barclays recently invested £330million to build a new 500,000sq ft campus on the south banks of the River Clyde. Once fully occupied, it will employ over 5,000 digital banking specialists.

Feeding off the pipeline of highly qualified graduates from the city’s three universities, Barclays chief executive Jes Staley said: "The UK is a world leader in financial services and Glasgow plays an important part. With this investment, we are increasing the strategic importance of the city to our future."

Why Glasgow?

Its strong pool of highly qualified graduates makes the city an extremely attractive location for entrepreneurs launching new ventures. Glasgow is the only UK city outside of London to have two universities ranked in the top 40 for research. The prevalence of academic institutions in the city is a core strength that fuels research and the transfer of ideas to market. University spinouts make up 7% of Glasgow’s high-growth population, far higher than the national average of 3%.

Add in a supportive and agile investment community, good transport links, high quality of life, easy access to the great outdoors, and its buzzing bars and restaurants, and you have the perfect growth medium to build your business.

Backing your business

Calum Paterson, Managing Partner, Scottish Equity Partners, says: “With access to world-class research, an entrepreneurial culture, and an impressive talent pool, Glasgow is a great place to start and build high growth potential technology companies. It also has a long history of innovation and creativity.”

Don’t believe us, then check out 82 of the fastest growing Glasgow startups: 82 Most Established Startups in Glasgow (failory.com)

Look East

Sitting on the Forth Estuary, Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, also punches well above its weight when offering a home to new business startups.

The city came eighth in the latest Tech Nation startup survey. It won the talent category by an impressive margin. More than six in ten of its workers are highly skilled, the highest number out of all 25 UK cities surveyed, even beating Oxford and Cambridge.

Pretty city

Globally famous as the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment, Edinburgh has always been a city open to innovative ideas, new technologies, and new businesses. From its iconic castle to its medieval Old Town, and grand Georgian New Town, it’s a city that’s not only easy on the eye but a magnet for fresh talent.

Skyscanner, one of Scotland’s most successful recent startups – and now a globally successful business - launched here.

Hothouse of talent

Today, Edinburgh is home to hundreds of ambitious technology startups and entrepreneurs. The companies draw in top ambitious talent from the city’s universities, as well as from further afield.

These companies operate within a vibrant, collaborative, business ecosystem, providing the perfect environment for any startup looking to turn new business ideas into a thriving reality. The University of Edinburgh is ranked fourth in the UK for producing spinout businesses. Its School of Informatics is ranked the largest grouping of artificial intelligence researchers in the UK.

Recent successful startups in Edinburgh include; space-tech business Skykora; eco-tech business Pawprint; and Napier University spinout Cyan Forensics.

For the most up to date list of Edinburgh startups, visit: 91 Most Established Startups in Edinburgh (failory.com)

A warm welcome

In business as in life; it doesn’t matter where you’re at, it’s where you are going. Scotland, with its long history of welcoming entrepreneurs, fresh ideas, and new businesses, offers the perfect ecosystem for startups, growth, and success. Whether you choose Glasgow or Edinburgh to grow your business, we can guarantee a warm welcome.

Visit Invest and Trade Scotland - Scottish Development International (sdi.co.uk) to find out how we can help you put down roots in Scotland.

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