Published On: Sun, Dec 2nd, 2012

The Glasgow Startup Guide



Prospects for startup businesses in Glasgow ought to seem bleak; banks are closed for business, the economy is anaemic and excessive red-tape makes doing anything feel like an ordeal. Despite all this, the Glasgow startup community continues to expand using innovations that allow new businesses to raise money and grow.


No money

Lack of cash is the main problem slowing startup activity, traditionally bank loans would have been the catalyst but banks aren’t taking startup risk just now (for some reason).  If your friends and family don’t have deep pockets, “crowdfunding” is hailed as the solution by many (& the next financial crisis by others). The principle behind crowdfunding is simple; instead of going to one source for all the money you need; raise small amounts from a large group or crowd. The model took-off in America a number of years ago so we Scots are a bit late to the party.


Sites like Kickstarter and allow startups to raise from a few hundred to several thousands of pounds and several local businesses are in the process of fundraising. Glasgow playing card designer The Art of Playing Cards are raising £7,500 to launch new designs while sci-fi comedy fans can ensure Space Patrol will reach our screens by helping the producers raise £13,000. On Shawlands based Glasgow TV! are looking for £6,000 for their online channel while Menergy are after £1,250 for a drag disco-club. There’s something for everyone.


What about premises?

Finding a unit or office space that won’t eat-up your funds within a few months is difficult but not impossible. If you only need a small space, companies like Desk Union will hook you up with organisations that have excess capacity. Squatting in someone else’s office can save a fortune in the early days. Don’t forget, in this weak property market if you see somewhere good, but out of budget, the landlord may be open to negotiation so you have some bargaining power.


If your idea is good enough you may even be able to secure a place at one of Glasgow’s business incubators like The Hatcheries or Suiltd where, as well as premises, you’ll get extra  support and services like mentoring.  Despite being fantastic for startups, there are only a handful of incubators in Glasgow just now and we hope to see more pop-up in the future



Most of the red tape you will encounter is enshrined in law and therefore the only option is to comply with it.


What next?

Once you’re funded and have a place to operate – the rest is up to you, good luck.


by Ross Hamilton

Images by micha.hb