Glasgow – A Robust Economic Powerhouse | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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Glasgow – A Robust Economic Powerhouse

Every day during the Commonwealth Games, Glasgow Chamber is holding Warm Up breakfast meetings at Scotland House, the Merchant City home base for Team Scotland. 

Our aim is simple; to celebrate all that is good about Glasgow and its business community. We want to show why our city is an excellent place to visit, spend money and succeed.

To start the Warm Up series I was asked to make the case for Glasgow,  setting out what messages we would like to leave in the minds of those business people newly visiting the city physically or digitally during the Games. 

If ever there was a time to tell the new story of Glasgow it is now.  For my contention is that the city's regeneration phase is well and truly over. 

It is no longer necessary to think about events like the Commonwealth Games as tools for the regeneration of the city. Our city is already an economic powerhouse. It is a city of scale, it has a diverse and robust business base, a genuinely entrepreneurial and effective academic community and a track record of ambitious leadership.  In its entirety, Glasgow doesn't need regenerating.

Some parts of the city, however, have yet to feel the full benefits of the new Glasgow and so discussing regeneration of the East End, for example, remains perfectly appropriate. This was done  in Manchester at the 2002 Commonwealth Games or in London at the 2012 Olympics.

Regeneration of neighbourhoods left behind is far from complete, but the city itself is an undoubted business and economic success.

In my presentation I set out 10 points in support of my case.  Glasgow is a large city both in UK and European terms. Perhaps it may not seem that way when you look wider at the megacities of Asia or Africa but in terms of our European neighbours we are a city of scale.

That matters both in attracting people to live and work here and in persuading businesses to invest.  I'm especially interested in how we make more of the fact that Glasgow is amongst the 30 largest cities in the EU.

People Make Glasgow is our brand and it perfectly reflects another reason Glasgow is succeeding. Our people are bright. We hold on to our talent well - perhaps not in every discipline I know - but on average our people are brighter than in many of the large cities we compare ourselves against.

We have overcome our greatest historical weakness - an overdependence on one industry. We are most definitely not a one company town.  We have success and distinctive assets in industries as varied as whisky, renewable energy, financial and business services, health and life sciences, tourism and , of course, engineering. 

 We may have some way to go in rebuilding our manufacturing industry, and wish to add to the list of companies with a physical product to export.

It's not obvious to me that there is any fundamental reason that cannot happen.  In fact, there are enough examples of companies making pumps and compressors, bottles of whisky or Irn Bru, advanced warships, medical devices or sophisticated music systems to make that aspiration perfectly realistic. 

We already have a robust and diversified industry base.  We can say we are a world city of engineering, a city of health and life sciences innovation, the whisky bottling and distribution capital of the world, the capital of the Scottish renewables industry and one of the UK's most successful business tourism cities. 

All throughout the Commonwealth Games I'll be pumping out these messages to anyone who'll listen. Please help and let me know what else I have missed.

Ten reasons why Glasgow is an economic powerhouse

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