New Borders firms need to be a priority

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Business start-up rates are far slower in the Borders than in the cities, according to new Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) figures.

Between 2010 and 2017 the number of registered businesses in Scotland’s urban areas increased from 108,145 to 125,545 – an increase of 16 per cent. Over the same period, enterprises in the Scottish Borders increased from 5,190 to 5,315 – an increase of 2.4 per cent.

FSB says that boosting local firms and rural business start-rates should be a key priority for Ministers and needs to be a key focus of the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency.

Hans Waltl, FSB’s local area leader, said: “Since the start of this decade, we’ve seen the number of Borders firms increase at a fraction of the rate of our cities. This trend should give all of us pause for thought.

“Across the Borders, smaller businesses are at the heart of local communities and economies. Without a diverse mix of local businesses, driven by a healthy business start-up rate, the local economy will face sluggish growth and struggle to retain and attract working age people.”

Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton MSP added: “I hope that these findings are taken into serious consideration with the creation of the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency.”

“The Borders needs new talent and ideas coming in to drive economic growth.”