East Dunbartonshire is a self-employment hot spot

Bishopbriggs.
Bishopbriggs.

A silent army of gifted entrepreneurs are toiling fruitfully away in leafy East Dunbartonshire suburbs, making the area one of Scotland’s most popular for self employed people.

New figures from the Federation of Small Businesses show that townships including Torrance and Bearsden are home to a significantly higher than average number of self-employed professionals.

Eight out of ten East Dunbartonshire towns included in the national data have higher than the 6.4 per cent average figure for self-employment.

Torrance and Bearsden were the area’s top performers, with 10.78 per cent and 10.64 per dent self-employment respectively.

Milngavie, Lenzie, Bishopbriggs, Lennoxtown and Kirkintilloch all have strong showings – for example 8.88 per cent in Lenzie and 5.89 per cent in Kirkintilloch- in a local roster which appears to show that smaller, wealthier, rural towns are more likely to have high levels of self-employment.

Conversely people living in poorer towns elsewhere in the country – especially those that used to have a large industrial employer – have much lower levels of self-employment.

FSB Dunbartonshire chairman Jim Ritchie said: “East Dunbartonshire is a small business economy and these figures on self-employment support that view.

But he adds: “While it is pleasing that many towns included here are above the national average for entrepreneurship, the 5 per cent gap between top and bottom towns shows where our business support agencies can focus their attention.

“Big business and public sector downsizings, alongside new business models powered by digital technology, have resulted in a steady increase in the number of Scots self-employed.

“We need to get behind those people and places that want to change their circumstances.

“Boosting self-employment and business activity could help to turn around some of East Dunbartonshire’s most disadvantaged places.”

FSB has produced a plan to boost entrepreneurship in post-industrial Scotland and better support those that work for themselves across the country.

It includes suggestions for innovative measures such as using new Scottish social security powers to provide extra maternity, paternity and adoption support for the self-employed.

It argues the Scottish Government should also work with the insurance industry to help develop an affordable income protection product.

Councils should also offer its long-term vacant properties to local business start-ups free of charge, it suggests.