Why Edinburgh is quickly becoming Scotland’s business for good capital - Social Good Connect

Why Edinburgh is quickly becoming Scotland’s business for good capital

13 August 2021

Edinburgh is making an international reputation for itself as a shining example of great business for good practice.

It was named as a social enterprise hotspot in 2019, has the highest number of B Corps of any Scottish city, and in 2017 was ranked 27th globally as a destination for entrepreneurial success and in the same year as the best place to start a small business in the UK. 

Between the start-ups, B Corps, social enterprises and purpose-driven businesses, Edinburgh is a melting pot of progressive companies that are playing a more prominent role in their local and national communities.  

So the capital city has long been recognised as a great place to start doing business for social good. But what makes the city such a great place to be purposeful?

Start-up support

Edinburgh has a few things to thank for its success. One of them is the range of support and resources that’s available to businesses at any stage in their growth. 

Scottish Enterprise, Entrepreneurial Scotland, Business Gateway, Entrepreneurial Spark, the list goes on! There’s an impressive number of organisations designed to support and encourage businesses in Edinburgh. Entrepreneurs are backed every step of the way, with even the city council and Edinburgh University offering funding and interest-free loans to entrepreneurs. 

This article says that its small size is to thank. With a large talent pool in what is a relatively small city, the opportunities for networking are endless. Start-ups and well-established businesses alike can easily connect and share guidance and ideas, creating a supportive and collaborative environment that’s a perfect breeding ground for purpose-led business. 

With regular virtual and face-to-face networking events, it’s easy to get to know the local business community and connect with like-minded leaders. Startup Summit, designed to set  Edinburgh apart as the go-to place for entrepreneurs, puts it like this: ‘If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes an ecosystem to raise a start-up’.

You’re in good company 

If you’re thinking about becoming a more purposeful business in Edinburgh, then you certainly won’t be lonely! The city already boasts some big-name brands that are creating a purposeful impact both locally and internationally. 

Being neighbours with other purposeful businesses can remind you of your mission, and inspire you that businesses can have a massive impact on their local communities. 

Edinburgh also has the added edge of being a wonderfully diverse city, with strong international trade links that helps to lay down the foundations of growth for businesses. Although a small city, it still pulls in millions of tourists a year, but the cost of living and rent is much lower when compared to the likes of Dublin, London or Paris. 

Those are some pretty good neighbours to have!

The Edinburgh business for good attitude

Entrepreneurship and innovation are highly prized in the traits, and there’s a real sense of pride from its business community who are vehemently backing startups. 

Jim Galloway, head of Enterprise and Innovation at Edinburgh City Council told The Scotsman that Edinburgh was the ‘original seat of enlightenment’ in the 18th century, and says the city is returning to its former glory.

It seems that a lot of business leaders in Edinburgh are reading from the same page – business doesn’t isn’t just about profit anymore. With the pandemic we’ve seen a shift in attitude as leaders increasingly view success through a wider lens Many businesses are realising that purpose isn’t just a by-product on the way to profitability, it’s the driver of real bottom-line benefits. 

Companies of all sizes are recognising the importance of acting in the interests of their shareholders, and are beginning to place a bigger focus on a more purposeful company culture and meaningful community links. 

How is your business giving back?

If you want to become more purposeful, you don’t have to go and start your own social enterprise. Engaging in corporate social responsibility activities is a great way to start making an impact in the ways that you already can. Employee volunteering is a great way to make a habit out of doing good. To find out how, book a call with our Business Engagement Manager, Sarah!

We spoke to some of Edinburgh’s business leaders about their missions, and their tips for leading people with purpose. Listen to the episodes here:

Ep 1: Darina Garland – Co-founder of Ooni

Ep 4: Bruce Walker – Co-founder & CEO of FutureX

Ep 5: Emma Macdonald – Co-founder & Company Director of The Tartan Blanket Co.

Ep 9: Celia Hodson – Founder of Hey Girls

Ep 12: Josh Littlejohn – Co-founder & CEO of Social Bite

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