Scottish small businesses are a little different from other UK businesses. Small firms with 50 or fewer employees make up half the small business total, but in Scotland things are more miniature. In Scotland, 90 percent of businesses employ fewer than 10 people.
When you consider employment growth, it comes down to growth in small businesses to boost overall employment levels and provide new opportunities for workers. If just 20 percent of these tiny businesses added a single employee, then this would add 40,000 new jobs in the region.
Just 12 months ago, the City of Edinburgh Council with assistance from the Edinburgh Business Forum, began their “Strategy for Jobs” programme. This was envisaged to have a five year life where the council dynamically expands business assistance and responds to new business needs more quickly.
The business hub located at Waverley Court, right in the heart of the council’s HQ is an important part of this new strategy. Any particularly day, if you were to visit, you would find young and older businesses seeking advice covering business planning, employment guidance and information on how to locate business finance.
Some businesses mentioned the need for flexible working environments and the council responded with four incubator locations. Entrepreneurial Spark has space for thirty start-ups and Creative Exchange has work areas for over 75 employees, with the council securing spots in both these flexible environments.
One push lately has been towards getting younger people into the workforce who perhaps have not had good employment opportunities. A business may join the Edinburgh Guarantee scheme which includes agreeing to certain amounts of youth employment, remunerated work experience and to supply training where needed.
The Edinburgh Jobs Fund is a solid initiative for small businesses and young people looking for gainful employment. Half of the current minimum wage is refunded back to the employer over a 26 week period. Skills Development Scotland is also involved to ensure young people have the right skills that businesses need and that disabled youth have the same job opportunities.