Glasgow’s strong reputation as a creative hub for business is paying dividends for start-up firm Swipii, creators of an award-winning loyalty programme.

The firm’s Senior Marketing Manager, Robert Gillespie, explains how the city’s combination of civic pride and business support has helped its development.


“If you can sell in Glasgow, you can sell anywhere.”

Those were the memorable words uttered by a London financier during our management team’s discussions with potential investors a couple of years back.

Our co-founders Chitresh Sharma and Louis Schena launched Swipii in 2014, the aim being to give owners of small brick-and-mortar businesses the power of big brand customer loyalty and automated marketing platforms at an affordable cost.

Chitresh hails from Raipur in India and Louis is Parisian but they met while studying at Strathclyde University, having been attracted to Glasgow by the excellent reputation of the University’s business school and the city’s low cost of living.

Having developed the idea of an iPad-based CRM and marketing platform for independent retailers, they managed to secure investment from a local tech investor.

Glasgow, of course, has a proud heritage as one of the great cities of Europe and the British Empire and as a vital cog in the Industrial Revolution.

While the city’s industry and economy may have changed immeasurably over the last few decades, what has remained constant is its commitment to innovation and enterprise.

Swipii operates in the hyper-local retail space and what we’re seeing is an increasing focus on local entities.

City economies and identities are becoming stronger and people are looking more critically at their immediate communities.

Glasgow is maintaining its reputation as a city with vision and that’s helping it take a position ahead of the curve in building a base for this coming change.

And, as our London financier friend indicated, Glaswegians aren’t always the easiest people to convince. But we’re happy to admit that a combination of in-built scepticism and some honest feedback has been useful in helping us refine our product and hone our business acumen.

Retail is a hugely important sector for the city’s economy and Glaswegians are keen to try new things, a combination which has definitely helped our development.

And the city offers a wealth of opportunities to businesses looking for support.

In our short history, we’ve benefitted from the Start Up Grant, the Glasgow New Business Fund and the Commonwealth Graduate Fund from Glasgow City Council which helped us launch, move into our own office and take on our first employees.

And Scottish Enterprise has also been hugely supportive.

At the beginning of 2017, we announced we had been awarded a £500,000 Regional Selective Assistance grant from Scottish Enterprise, allowing us to expand our operations and target new business.

We currently employ 10 people at our St Vincent Street office, but over the next 12 months that financial backing will help us to recruit a further 45 staff members.

The support we’ve received from the city has been instrumental in our rapid growth.

And we’ve also attracted industry recognition. In 2016, we won Best Customer Loyalty, CRM and Personalisation Category at the UK Digital Experience Awards.

We hope to continue to grow the business as we have been doing, and over the next year alone we expect to grow our client-base of small businesses by 350%. We believe there’s real potential for both Swipii and Glasgow as a creative hub for business.


Robert Gillespie is Senior Marketing Manager at Swipii, the award winning and easy-to-use loyalty program you can find and use at all your local businesses with a single card or phone app. Like them on Facebook Swipii, follow on Twitter @Swipiicard or follow on LinkedIn Swipii Labs.


The above blog post has been made possible through the generous support of Creative Clyde and the named contributors.