The Scottish Borders is an unparalleled location to set up a new online business. The support from the local authorities and agencies has enabled us to grow substantially since we started three years ago.
The Internet infrastructure has now made it possible to work with suppliers and customers across the UK and EU in real-time. Edinburgh Airport opens the gateway to all major UK and European cities we need to visit – soon to be even closer with the new Borders Railway. The mood is one of ‘can-do’.
And as an added bonus, the quality of life is second to none.
The Borders Railway presents a huge new opportunity for Midlothian, making it so much easier and quicker for visitors getting to this hidden gem of Scotland. From great open spaces to unforgettable historic sites, there is an amazing amount to see and do in Midlothian and we look forward to welcoming many more visitors to the area in future, thanks to the new train service.
We enjoy the lifestyle in terms of walking and cycling all the way round the countryside. It’s on the border of what I think is one of the greatest cities in the world, Edinburgh, and from an intellectual viewpoint, it’s one of the major centres of science in the world, especially for life scientists.
Having lived in the Scottish Borders since 2003, my husband and I decided in 2008, against the economic odds, to start a business together in St Boswells. We opened The Mainstreet Trading Company as a bookshop/café in June that year amid much scepticism that the project could work in such a rural area.
We maintained that ‘if you build it, they will come’, that it was up to us to give people reasons to visit the shop. Luckily, the Borders is a stunningly beautiful area which attracts large numbers of visitors year round. This is reflected in our sales, with around a third of trade coming from tourism. This lovely area is the gateway to Scotland, and has the advantage of drawing in visitors both north and south of the border.
Midlothian offers close proximity to Edinburgh, but also the benefits of being based in a rural setting, and is a very suitable place to be based.
Midlothian Council has been particularly helpful in helping our business to grow through helping locate suitable premises, and in helping finance our development.