City Spotlight: A Quick Guide to Franchising in Glasgow

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You may not have considered Glasgow for your next venture, but it has lots to offer entrepreneurs. With a rapidly growing economy and hundreds of specialist companies, it’s already proven its potential for future business owners. Here’s an overview of franchising in Glasgow.

Despite Edinburgh’s status as Scotland’s capital, Glasgow is the biggest city in the country, both in terms of size and population. More than 620,000 people call it home, while 2.3 million residents live in the wider conurbation. 

According to the Glasgow Economic Strategy, the city is working towards becoming the UK’s most productive major economy and creating 50,000 new jobs in the next few years. 

An overview of Glasgow

More than 48,000 businesses with a combined total of 856,000 workers are based in Glasgow. Impressively, just under 35 percent of all employed people in Scotland have jobs in the city. Plus, almost 40 percent of companies in the FTSE 100 have a presence there. 

The city benefits from an unusually high proportion of young people. More than 70 percent of the population is of working age, between 16 and 64, compared to just 62.3 percent in England and Wales. This concentration of young adults could be a result of the region’s many educational institutions: the University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University. The Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are also nearby. 

In fact, Glasgow has over 185,000 students from 140 different countries – the highest number in the whole of Scotland, and the second highest in the UK. Every year, 20,000 new students graduate in the city. What’s more, 46 percent of Glasgow’s residents between the ages of 16 and 64 have a degree. 

The average salary in Glasgow is lower than across the UK as a whole, sitting at £29,000, as opposed to £38,600 (Payscale). However, Glasgow property is more affordable than in other areas of the UK, with the average home costing £185,552. In England and Wales, the typical homeowner pays £300,000 (Rightmove). 

Glasgow has fantastic transport links, so travelling to other locations is fairly straightforward. The city’s International Airport is just nine miles from the centre and offers flights to more than 150 global destinations. You can also get to Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Edinburgh International Airport from the city in under an hour. 

Trains take travellers to Manchester in three and a half hours, and London in under four hours and 15 minutes. There’s also an underground subway system. Thanks to the city’s extensive transport connections, more than 40 percent of the Scottish population can access Glasgow’s businesses. 

The franchise sector in Scotland is thriving, with a mix of home-grown businesses as well as the big-name international brands. The sector creates thousands of new jobs every year and is a major contributor to the Scottish economy… Scotland has a superb and very proactive support network for franchising, including specialist lawyers, accountants, consultants and bankers.
—Pip Wilkins, bfa CEO 

    Running your own business in Glasgow

    Those who are interested in franchising in Glasgow can capitalise on demand and maximise their revenue potential if they know which industries are thriving. Here’s a run-down of the city’s biggest sectors: 

    • Business and financial services – This sector employs more than 53,000 people and generates over £1 billion for the local economy, making Glasgow the third biggest financial hub in the UK. The region also benefits from the largest number of yearly graduates for business and finance of any core UK city. 

    • Manufacturing and engineering – Half of Scotland’s electronics, mechanics and software students choose Glasgow for education, earning the region the top spot among UK core cities for the number of graduates in the sector. It has almost 3,000 manufacturing businesses and over 55,000 employees generating £10 billion in revenue. 

    • Digital technology – Glasgow supports over 33,600 jobs in this sector, which generates more than £1 billion in total. The city also benefits from 575 companies working in innovative technology. And it helps more students than any other core UK city become qualified for work in the sector, with university specialisms including computer science and maths. 

    • Life sciences – Glasgow has more than 230 businesses operating in the life sciences sector, with a combined workforce of 10,000 people. It also has the second biggest life sciences hub and educates more students in this area than any other core city in the UK. Thanks to the £1 billion Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (EQUH), Glasgow can say it has the largest critical care facility in Western Europe.

    • Energy – At the moment, 4,400 people work in Glasgow’s energy businesses, including ScottishPower, Aggreko and the Weir Group. But there are plans for over £1.5 billion to be invested in Glasgow’s low-carbon and renewable energies sectors in the coming decade. 

    • Creative and media – A UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow can be proud of its creative sector. There are 130 events per week in the music industry alone, and facilities for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the National Theatre of Scotland and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Plus, Glasgow produces the second highest number of creative graduates of any UK core city. 

    • Retail – There are more than half a million square metres (or over five million square feet) of retail space in Glasgow’s city centre. Thanks to its huge shopping sector, the city benefits from the UK’s highest retail spending potential outside of London. 

    >> Read more:

    Franchising in Glasgow

    In Scotland, the franchising industry is valued at £1 billion, and 43 percent of the UK’s franchise businesses have a presence in the country (bfa-NatWest survey). There are lots of resources available for people who are thinking about running a franchise unit in Glasgow, many of which can be accessed at the region’s annual business events. 

    The bfa-accredited Franchise Opportunities Scotland is one of the biggest nearby exhibitions, offering the chance to network with industry experts and find out more about local franchise investment openings. 

    To find out more about franchising in Glasgow, see our list of the top investment opportunities currently on offer in the region. You’ll be able to view each business’s franchisee criteria on its individual profile page. 

    *Statistics taken from

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