Stirling Ranks #1: Small Business Start-Up Surge Revealed in Latest BankSearch Data

The entrepreneurial spirit is thriving in Stirling, as recent data from BankSearch reveals a remarkable 18.8% increase in small business start-ups during the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period last year. This surge positions Stirling at the forefront of Scotland’s economic growth, ranking it 1st out of 32 Scottish districts.

According to the latest figures, a total of 39 new businesses took root in Stirling in March 2024, representing a resilient supported entrepreneurial landscape.

Small Business
March 2024Monthly comparisonYearly comparisonYTD comparison
Scotland 2,3080.8% -19.1% -5.5%

“The surge in small business start-ups in Stirling underscores the vibrancy of our local economy and the entrepreneurial drive of our community,” remarks Mike Barclay, Director of Business Support at STEP. “This growth is a testament to the supportive ecosystem we have cultivated, empowering individuals to turn their innovative ideas into thriving businesses.”

The report highlights the top three industries driving this growth, with real estate, professional services and support activities taking the lead, closely followed by construction and accommodation and food service sectors. Moreover, the geographical distribution of these start-ups underscores the inclusive nature of Stirling’s economy, with urbanites, rural residents, and hard-pressed living areas all contributing significantly.

Simon Orr, Business Adviser at STEP, sheds light on why Stirling is experiencing a surge in start-up numbers and its impressive survival rate. “We truly believe that Stirling’s favorable business environment, coupled with robust support systems, has laid the groundwork for this remarkable growth,” Orr remarks. “Entrepreneurs in Stirling benefit from a collaborative ecosystem spearheaded by STEP, access to tailored guidance, and a supportive local authority, all of which foster innovation and resilience.”

He adds, “The survival rate of businesses in Stirling, compared to the national average, is a testament to the city’s supportive infrastructure and the determination of its entrepreneurs. With a 3-year business survival rate of 65.33% in 2019, Stirling outpaces the Scottish average of 57.4%, further solidifying its position as a hub of sustainable entrepreneurship.”

Top 3 IndustriesMarch 2024Monthly comparisonYearly comparisonYTD comparison
Real estate, professional services and support activities1122.2%0%42.9%
Accommodation and food service6100%200%0%
Top 3 Area ClassificationMarch 2024Monthly comparisonYearly comparisonYTD comparison
Rural Residents833.3%14.3%0%
Hard-Pressed Living6100%-45.5%-30%

“While Scotland experiences a general decline in start-up growth, Stirling emerges as a beacon of opportunity,” remarks Simon Anderson of BankSearch. “Alongside Midlothian and West Dunbartonshire, Stirling showcases robust economic resilience, providing fertile ground for aspiring entrepreneurs.”

Despite challenges faced by some regions, Stirling’s performance remains resilient, with notable areas like Bannockburn witnessing a flurry of start-up activity. Stirling accounts for 1.7% of all start-ups across Scotland, reflecting its growing significance in the national entrepreneurial landscape.

Alan Porteous, Business Adviser at STEP, who offers personalised business guidance at the Bannockburn hub, highlights STEP’s pivotal role in supporting aspiring entrepreneurs. “STEP serves as a guiding light for those venturing into business,” he explains. “Through tailored advice and a collaborative ethos, we empower start-ups to overcome obstacles and maximise their potential. Collaborating closely with Stirling Council, we’ve pioneered ‘business support on your doorstep’ initiatives across six strategic locations, including Aberfoyle, Bannockburn, Callander, Cowie, Drymen, and Killin, with plans for further expansion. The addition of Traci Titterington as our rural adviser extends our reach to even the most remote areas, ensuring that no entrepreneur is left behind.”

STEP delivers comprehensive start-up services through their delivery of Business Gateway in Stirling, on behalf of Stirling Council, fully funded by the Scottish Government, and free of charge for businesses. This invaluable support network provides aspiring entrepreneurs with access to expert guidance, resources, and workshops to kickstart their ventures with confidence.

“The entrepreneurial spirit in Stirling is palpable,” adds Anderson. “With 39 new businesses launched in March alone, and a vibrant ecosystem supporting innovation and growth, Stirling is poised for continued economic prosperity.”



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