Edinburgh tops list for high-growth businesses

A new report from Barclays Eagle Labs and Beauhurst reveals that Edinburgh, Manchester and Leeds top the list of local authorities for the highest number of high-growth businesses outside of London.

The “Unlocking Growth” report identifies the key to generating growth by exploring the importance of public and private sector partnerships in creating strong local technology ecosystems in which businesses can start and scale successfully.

Edinburgh tops the list for the number of high-growth businesses outside of London, with 621 of such firms calling the city home, 280 of which are technology companies.

In Edinburgh, investors have made £940 million in total equity investment in tech companies since 2011, universities have produced 83 spinout businesses commercialising university research and there is a range of business incubator and accelerator programmes.

This is in addition to local government intervention in allocating funding, for example through Invest Edinburgh, the council’s investment arm and the Edinburgh and the South-East Scotland City Deal.

The Edinburgh Eagle Lab is part of a growing network of business incubator spaces that supports 28 ecosystems across the UK, providing mentoring and networking opportunities, business support, and a regular programme of events.

To date, the Labs have supported nearly 4,000 businesses, which combined, have secured 614 equity deals since 2011, raising on average £1.45 million in each equity fundraising round.

The Edinburgh Eagle Lab is soon to be joined by two more locations in Scotland, at the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Hub in Kilmarnock and at the new Barclays campus in Tradeston, Glasgow.

The research highlights how towns and cities can encourage growth and attract talent by investing in and supporting their local technology ecosystems.

This includes universities, accelerator programmes and business incubators, coupled with investment sources such as angel or private equity investors.

The report looks at the critical role technology ecosystems play in supporting high-growth firms and boosting local economies.

“Local authority areas that are home to 100 or more high-growth companies have an average Gross Value Added (GVA) per person of £138,000, compared to £22,000 for those with less than 100,” said the report.

Jon Hope, Director of Eagle Labs, said: “Our mission at Barclays Eagle Labs is to help support entrepreneurs and high-growth start-ups by providing them the tools they need to grow their business and by bringing together a range of actors to help nurture and grow local tech ecosystems.

“Every region in the UK has the presence of at least one high-growth technology cluster.

“However, data from Beauhurst found that seven out of the top ten local authorities by number of high-growth tech companies were in London.

“We hope that with support from networks like Eagle Labs, towns and cities throughout the country can reap the benefits that strong local tech ecosystems can provide.”

Chris Philp, Digital Minister, said: “Business is booming in Edinburgh and as these brilliant new figures show the city is rapidly becoming one of the UK’s leading technology hubs.

“Capitalising on the huge potential of tech to create jobs and wealth is a crucial part of our mission to level up, so we are backing businesses across Scotland with pro-innovation policies and supporting people to get the skills they need to succeed in this dynamic industry.”