City Spotlight: A Quick Guide to Franchising in Edinburgh

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With rich history and architecture, a network of research facilities and a high proportion of skilled workers, the Scottish capital is a fantastic place to start running your own business. This is your quick guide to franchising in Edinburgh. 


While the city offers a large population of highly educated workers and access to a diverse selection of leading organisations, it also has an impressive history. You can still see evidence of dwellers from the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman times, and wander through the medieval Old Town, Georgian New Town and Victorian suburbs. 

Plus, Edinburgh has more green areas than any other city in the UK, including the famous Holyrood Park, which occupies a space of 650 acres. 

The cosmopolitan population within Edinburgh, coupled with the high education that you get from the working population, gives us a great location that meets our needs and we see that continuing. 
–Les Torrence, SYKES Regional Director 

An overview of Edinburgh

More than 518,000 people live in Edinburgh, and it has the second highest proportion of people in their 20s of any Scottish city after Aberdeen, at one in five. Also, 15 percent of the population are in their 30s, the highest division in the country. 

Workers in the city earn an average income of £31,000 per year. Popular professions include software engineers and developers, which come with a salary of between £19,000 and £57,000. 

There are around 234,000 homes in Edinburgh, and the average asking price sits at £258,000. Meanwhile, rented property is leased for £1,122 per month on average. The city is known for its high proportion of tenement accommodation, as more than six in 10 people live in a flat.

Edinburgh businesses should have no trouble finding skilled workers, as the region has the third highest percentage of degree-educated residents of any UK city, after Oxford and Cambridge. Over half of the people in Edinburgh have graduated from university.


People living and working in Edinburgh benefit from the city’s high standards of living – something which doesn’t come with the same price tag as other UK cities. It’s around one third cheaper for businesses to set up here than in London, making the Scottish capital city an attractive place for entrepreneurs and established businesses to put down roots.
–Simon Capaldi, Knight Frank 

The city is also easy to navigate on foot. More than 16 percent of people walk to work and four percent cycle. And if you need to get to destinations further afield, the city’s extensive rail network made up of 12 separate stations can get you there. Travelling to Glasgow by train takes just 42 minutes, and you can reach London in four hours and 20 minutes.

What’s more, Edinburgh is also well-equipped to support those who want to opt for more sustainable modes of transport. There are dozens of electric vehicle charging points available for public use across the city. 

For international travel, you can take flights from Edinburgh Airport to more than 150 global destinations. 



Running your own business in Edinburgh 

If you’re considering franchising in Edinburgh, here are the key sectors you could benefit from joining:

  • Science and technology - The city’s diverse selection of research institutes have made groundbreaking discoveries in the fields of medicine, animal bioscience and energy. Over the centuries, Edinburgh has been the birthplace of many inventions, including the world’s first fax machine, hypodermic syringe, powered bionic finger and zero-plastic paper bottle. Plus, city scientists were the first on the planet to clone a mammal, Dolly the sheep. 

  • Software - The city is home to offices for a variety of high-profile technology companies, including Microsoft, Apple, IBM and Adobe. Software development is a specialist area for Edinburgh, and more than 17,000 people work in the field.

  • Higher education - Edinburgh has no fewer than five higher education institutions, including Scotland’s oldest and largest university, The University of Edinburgh, which was set up back in 1582. The sector has created jobs for 18,000 people across the city, and has a community of more than 70,000 students. 

  • Financial services - Over 37,000 people are involved in this sector across Edinburgh, and an additional 4,500 residents have jobs in accounting, auditing and tax consultancy. The region’s finance industry is long-established, originating with the introduction of the Bank of Scotland in the 17th century. 

  • Film and television - Thanks to its beautiful architecture and proximity to picturesque scenery, Edinburgh is a popular location for film and television crews. In the past, it has formed the backdrop to various notable productions, including Chariots of Fire, Avengers: Infinity War and, most famously, Trainspotting. 

  • Art and culture - Few cities can boast the cultural scene Edinburgh enjoys. Every August, the city invites performers and audiences from all over the world to enjoy its famous international festival, which features shows set up in all sorts of unconventional locations. Edinburgh was also the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, and has produced icons including Sir Walter Scott (Ivanhoe) and Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes). 

  • Food and drink - You’ll find numerous food markets and events taking place in the city. Most notably, Edinburgh Food Festival and the Royal Highland Show draw crowds of hungry fans. The region is also famous for its production of beers and spirits, with the Scotch Whisky Experience attracting hundreds of thousands of people every year.

  • Communication and customer service - Many companies have chosen to base their contact centres in Edinburgh, possibly as a result of the diverse population and high proportion of multilingual residents. In the city, over 21,000 people speak Polish, 11,000 can communicate in French and 7,000 are fluent in German. Thousands more can understand Italian and Spanish. Amazon, H&M and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have all opted to establish contact centres in Edinburgh.

Productivity is high, averaging over £70,000 per worker (gross value added), unemployment is the lowest of any major UK city and gross disposable income is the highest outside of London.
–Management Today 

Franchising in Edinburgh

A productive yet picturesque city, Edinburgh makes a great base for those considering running a franchise business. If you’re seriously thinking about franchising in Edinburgh, why not make a trip to some of the local events to get a feel for the business landscape? You could opt to visit Franchise Opportunities Scotland or the Edinburgh Business Show to network with established entrepreneurs and pick up handy tips and advice. 

You can browse available investment opportunities in Edinburgh or find more informative business guides right here at Point Franchise. Just use the search box to get started.

*Statistics taken from InvestInEdinburgh.com, Payscale.com and WorldPopulationReview.com

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