Scotland sees post-pandemic surge in young entrepreneurs starting businesses

The number of young people starting their own businesses increased significantly last year across Scotland’s cities, new research has shown.
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Easy Offices, which is focused on office and co-working spaces to rent, has analysed Companies House data, and discovered that Edinburgh and Glasgow had the highest number of young entrepreneurs north of the Border, with more than 500 each in the 18 to 25 age group category.

However, the business flagged the rate of change as “surprising”, noting that the total for Glasgow was 718 in 2022, up from just nine the previous year. It added that, to ensure the pandemic was not skewing the figures, it also looked at the 2019 numbers, which showed 53 young entrepreneurs launched a start-up in the city.

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Glasgow saw a similar mix of sectors in 2022 as Edinburgh, with the Scottish capital’s 332 total for the year (up from seven in 2021 and 15 in 2019) including mail order and internet sales companies, event catering businesses, hairdressing and beauty services and advertising agencies among others.

Glasgow saw 718 firms started by young entrepreneurs in 2022, up from just nine the previous year. Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images.Glasgow saw 718 firms started by young entrepreneurs in 2022, up from just nine the previous year. Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images.
Glasgow saw 718 firms started by young entrepreneurs in 2022, up from just nine the previous year. Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images.

Furthermore, three Scottish locations jumped last year from a drop to zero in 2021. Dunfermline increased to 24, having scored two in 2019, Inverness jumped to 33, at five in 2019; and Perth to 34, and two pre-pandemic. Aberdeen’s total last year was 75, up from four in 2021 and nine in 2019; Dundee at 76, four, and six respectively; and Stirling 20 and two, with no data available for 2019.

Easy Offices said the overall findings for Scotland are in line with wider research highlighting the “explosion” in post-pandemic entrepreneurship. It cited a 2022 study spanning more than 2.3 million UK businesses, showing that the percentage of start-up owners aged 18 to 24 “soared” from 1.7 per cent pre-pandemic, to 8.6 per cent in the two years afterwards. A study from Virgin StartUp released in January found that a quarter of Scottish adults were considering launching their own business in the coming year.

John Williams, chief marketing officer at Easy Offices, said: “This spike of innovation following the pandemic shows how it drove a large number of young people to reconsider their careers and take the bold step of pursuing their own path. Now, young business-owners are making their presence felt across many industries with an injection of new energy.”