Google eTown Awards put Edinburgh second in UK

Google's Theo Bertram congratulates Ian Murray. Picture: Comp
Google's Theo Bertram congratulates Ian Murray. Picture: Comp
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IT’S a city of history and heritage that burned brightest during the Enlightenment.

But now Edinburgh is at the forefront of a new intellectual era – as one of the most tech-savvy towns in the UK.

Web giant Google analysed the online strength of 1300 towns across Britain to determine the Capital is Scotland’s hottest online business district – and second in the league table nationally behind 

Edinburgh’s forward-looking attitude, young population and willingness to embrace new ideas were all highlighted as factors behind the success, as was the city’s buzzing 
cosmopolitan vibe.

As one city web designer says: “As a tourist destination, we’ve had to develop our online strategies quickly and more effectively than most others.”

Now in their second year the Google eTown Awards recognise those towns whose businesses are most actively embracing the web. To provide a snapshot of the UK’s economic activity, Google worked with Ipsos MORI to break down the UK into 12 regions – those towns with the highest scores in each region were then awarded eTown status.

Accepting the award on behalf of the Capital, Ian 
Murray, MP for Edinburgh South, said: “The internet is going to play a key role in Edinburgh’s economic growth, helping local businesses and entrepreneurs thrive, and contributing to the wider British economy. I hope this award encourages other local businesses to use the internet.”

The recently published Connected Kingdom report by the Boston Consulting Group predicted that the internet’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product will increase from 7.2 per cent today to ten per cent in 2015.

Latest national statistics reveal that over the last five years the Capital’s vibrant economy has seen a 23 per cent increase in the number of businesses starting up.

David Birrell, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “New technology can be a catalyst for economic growth, so this is good news for the Capital. This comes on the back of Edinburgh being one of the first cities in the UK to receive 4G services late last year.”

Top 10 e-spots across country

1. Stratford upon Avon, West Midlands

2. Edinburgh, Scotland

3. Richmond, London

4. Stansted, East of England

5. Towcester, East Midlands

6. Bournemouth, South West

7. East Marlow, South East

8. Blackpool, North West

9. Harrogate, Yorkshire & Humberside

10. Blaydon-on-Tyne, North East

Going online, Cuckoo clicked

ONE city business making the most of its online presence is Cuckoo’s Bakery on Dundas Street. Orders have quadrupled since online sales were launched.

Owner Graham Savage – who opened the bakery and tea room with his business partner Vidya Sarjoo on Valentine’s Day 2011 – said: “When we told our friends we were starting a bakery they said we were cuckoo, which is how we found our name. However, the business has grown massively since we set up, and the online market is our fastest-growing area”

The entrepreneur said Edinburgh is a great place to do e-business. He added: “We started taking ten deliveries a week and now take 30 to 40 deliveries a week.”