Invest Glasgow: Innovation on the Clyde - Gordon Matheson

In 2014, Glasgow hosted the 20th Commonwealth Games and the MTV Europe Music Awards, while the Ryder Cup was played in nearby Gleneagles. City council leader Gordon Matheson describes how Invest Glasgow is engineering the conditions in which business can flourish in Scotland's largest metropolis.

Invest Glasgow is the Scottish city's council's dedicated inward investment team. Set up in 2012, its core mission is to provide a top-class, first point of contact for investors interested in relocating to one of the most business-friendly locations in the UK and Europe.

A collaborative approach draws on partners including Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International and the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce to support investment into the city's key industrial sectors. Since 2012, this method has generated more than 4,000 new jobs across financial and business services, life sciences, and manufacturing and renewables, and secured first place for Glasgow in the large cities category of the fDi European Cities and Regions of the Future awards for 2014/15.

Why Glasgow?

Glasgow is Scotland's largest city, with 600,000 residents at the centre of an overall metropolitan area that is home to 1.7 million. As the nation's biggest urban economy, Glasgow has witnessed strong economic growth and development in recent years, generating £18 billion gross value added (GVA) each year, while supporting more than 450,000 jobs.

With a student population in excess of 130,000 from more than 135 countries, Glasgow's large industry clusters and business hubs can draw upon a healthy pipeline of talent. With a median age of 35, its population ranks second in the UK (after London) in terms of skills, according to a recent report from the Centre for Cities.

It is also respectively Scotland's and the UK's first and third-largest office market. By the end of spring 2015, 450,000ft2 of premium office space will have been added to an already impressive stock of commercial real estate in the city centre.

With property costs up to 4% lower than Manchester's, 5% lower than Edinburgh's and 75% lower than London's, value for money is guaranteed, without scrimping on quality. Labour, meanwhile, costs 12% less than in it does in Edinburgh, and is up to a third cheaper than in London.

Investor support

Working with new investors, Glasgow offers a range of support measures. It is eligible for regional selective assistance (RSA), a discretionary grant scheme managed and administered by Scottish Enterprise on behalf of the Scottish Government. Glasgow City Centre is within a tier 2 area, offering 10-30% support for inward investors. In addition, Invest Glasgow can assist with small-scale, short-term workspaces in advance of a companies arriving in the city, and can facilitate fast-track planning and building warrants - all backed up with robust market intelligence - during projects' fit-out phases.

The Glasgow Guarantee encourages and maximises the creation of new jobs in the city by providing a more streamlined approach to recruitment. It is designed to stimulate supply and demand through linking business need with unemployed residents, while a wage subsidy of up to 50% ensures that recruitment costs can be significantly offset.

Whether it's comprehensive business support and market intelligence, identifying training grants and funding, recruitment and access to subsidies for graduates and apprentices, fast-track planning support or property searches, Invest Glasgow has its finger on the pulse of the city.

Glasgow city council leader Gordon Matheson.
Glasgow: a friendlier place to do business.