Record investment from overseas into Edinburgh

Lesley and Nigel Eccles of fantasy sports firm FanDuel. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Lesley and Nigel Eccles of fantasy sports firm FanDuel. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

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MORE foreign companies are flocking to the Capital than ever before, it has been revealed – pumping millions of pounds into the city’s economy.

July saw the biggest number of overseas firms announce they were setting up home in Edinburgh in any month since records began in May 2008.

Experts said the business boom was down to the city’s flourishing technology sector and world-famous universities.

And they insisted many companies were choosing Edinburgh as a “lifestyle choice” due to its desirability as a location and cheap prices in comparison to London.

Eleven firms headquartered in countries including the United States, Germany, South Africa and the Netherlands announced plans to move into the city in July – bringing with them more than 200 jobs.

Gordon Henderson, senior development manager at the Federation of Small Businesses, said the Capital’s resources and growing reputation had turned it into a hub for up-and-coming new firms.

He said: “Successful businesses such as Skyscanner and FanDuel will attract other similar types of business to the city. There’s a new tech sector in Edinburgh.

“And the Edinburgh School of Infomatics is world-renowned now for producing great graduates and the kind of people these businesses want to attract.

“In general, as far as inward investment goes, you would have to give some credit to the inward investment team at the council. I know they’ve put a lot of work into it.

“They’ve played a long-term game and as anyone in sales will tell you, you sit there with no results for a while and then suddenly – whoosh! A lot of good figures arrive.

“The other thing is, Edinburgh is a fantastic place to live and people visiting the city with a view to possibly locating their HQs here realise it’s a fantastic city, and that has a big bearing.

“You can get around very easily and the airport is well connected. I think people look to their social needs as well as their business needs with equal importance these days.”

The latest figures come after the council’s own economic data showed the Capital’s economy racing ahead of the rest of the UK – with the city boasting falling unemployment, hundreds of new businesses and soaring tourism.

And this week the council announced a £186 million upgrade to the city’s IT infrastructure that will cut costs and introduce increased bandwidth for primary and high schools – boosting the use of mobile apps and online tools in learning.

Councillor Frank Ross, the city’s economy leader, said: “The average number of foreign direct investments each month is normally around two or three so this news, which will bring more jobs to the city, is very welcome.

“Edinburgh is the most prosperous city in the UK outside London and there is tremendous confidence in investing here at the moment.

“Billions of pounds worth of investment is being ploughed into the Edinburgh 12 key development sites, which include Edinburgh St James, New Waverley and The Haymarket, therefore this latest success is not surprising.

“The companies coming to Edinburgh this month vary from hi-tech life sciences and software companies to boutique restaurants and retailers. This is a healthy mix, which is really important to ensure we continue to have a sustained and varied economy.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com