Praise for Capital’s global appeal as business initiative wins award

Edinburgh is attracting businesses from overseas. Picture Steven Scott Taylor
Edinburgh is attracting businesses from overseas. Picture Steven Scott Taylor
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EFFORTS to attract businesses from overseas to the Capital appear to be paying off after it emerged 25 new foreign investors arrived last year.

Large Chinese and American firms were amongst those to set up bases – landing the city first place in a respected global ranking.

The city council announced yesterday that it had topped the table at this year’s FDI Intelligence Global Cities for the Future awards.

That honours cities for their strategy in attracting international business and saw Edinburgh beat Hong Kong into second place.

Backed by the Financial Times, the index looks to rank cities and regions with the best prospects for foreign investment, economic development and business expansion.

It pointed to Edinburgh’s alliance with the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, which has given the investors office space at Edinburgh’s Creative Exchange, with a similar facility set up for Scots in China.

Councillor Gavin Barrie, economy leader at the city council, said the ranking proved Edinburgh was a “global player” in the business stakes.

He said: “This is yet another fantastic result for Edinburgh and welcome confirmation that our strategy is driving investment to Edinburgh and creating thousands of new jobs.

“Due to its excellent quality of life and vibrant economy Edinburgh provides an excellent environment for companies of all sizes, both homegrown and international, to succeed.

“The city’s rapid growth in the tech sector and start-up scene and increased international reputation coupled with long-standing expertise in finance mean that Edinburgh is well positioned to attract investment. In the past 12 months we’ve welcomed 25 new foreign investors to the city and this award recognises that Edinburgh is regarded as a truly global player.”

Chicago came in third, Brisbane fourth and Barcelona fifth. Glasgow was seventh and London 11th.

The award is the latest in a long line of recent international recognition for the city after Edinburgh was last month awarded the title of British Entrepreneurial City of the Year.

With Brexit on the horizon, Cllr Barrie said he was keen to ensure EU nationals were still able to work in Edinburgh.

He added: “These people move from country to country but it’s very important that we can attract the top talent and if they can’t work here it causes a big problem. Edinburgh has been an international exciting city long before the European Union and I’m sure it will remain so afterwards but anything that might damage our performance is a concern.”

The council’s Memorandum of Understanding project with Innovate Finance, launched to help Edinburgh and London promote technology companies, was also praised in the 2016/17 awards.

Liz McAreavey, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said Edinburgh’s skilled workforce and quality of life meant the Capital had a “good record” for attracting investment.

She added: “The city council has followed quite a progressive strategy in attracting business and that’s exactly what you are looking for – for businesses to come and locate in Edinburgh.

“It creates employment [and] it creates wealth. There’s a lot of big businesses coming to the city and I think that bodes well for our future.”

Ms McAreavey said working with Edinburgh’s twin cities across Europe would help pave the way forward in a post-Brexit future.

She added: “There’s a strong voice from Scotland that we are open for business and that we want to retain our European connections.

“We are now reaching out and creating relationships with other countries – we are putting a lot of effort into building those connections.”

Overseas businesses which have recently come to Edinburgh include Janssen Pharmaceutica, which has initiated a new £2.5 million dementia study run by the Dementia Prevention Centre located in the city’s BioQuarter.