Self-employment mapped out across Midlothian

Federation of Small Businesses Chairman Gordon Henderson (standing) and business owner Alex Hazlewood (seated).
Federation of Small Businesses Chairman Gordon Henderson (standing) and business owner Alex Hazlewood (seated).

People living in Roslin and Bilston are Midlothian’s most entrepreneurial citizens according to new information released on start-ups.

But more focus is needed to encourage local people to set up in business for themselves, which in turn would boost local economies, says the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The FSB in Scotland has compiled a map showing the start-up rate in 479 towns, cities and suburbs across the country. With the national average for self-employment standing at 6.4 per cent, most of Midlothian’s towns seem to be faring well – Roslin at 8.9 per cent, Bilston 7.9 per cent, Rosewell 7.6 per cent, Loanhead 7.5 per cent, Bonnyrigg 7.4 per cent, Dalkeith 7.1 per cent, Danderhall 6.7 per cent and Penicuik 6.6 per cent.

But even the best in Midlothian are still half the rate of Scotland’s top performing towns of Ullapool and Newtonmore in the Highlands.

And Gorebridge at 6.1 per cent and Mayfield 5.8 per cent are lagging even further behind.

Commenting on the Midlothian figures, Gordon Henderson, the FSB’s senior development manager, said: “Having all of our local towns so close to the national average is heartening when you consider the challenges faced by towns with fewer than three per cent self-employed but there’s a lot of room for growth.”

While he agreed that Midlothian Council’s focus was quite rightly on tackling inequality and supporting people in the region’s more deprived areas into work, Mr Henderson said if it was also to encourage self-employment and entrepreneurship, it could make a real difference.

He added: “Boosting self-employment and business activity could give all of Midlothian’s towns a lift.”