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The ScaleUp Institute, with the support of the Goldman Sachs Foundation and 10,000 Small Businesses UK, held its inaugural certified education programme on Driving Economic Growth through ScaleUp Businesses and Ecosystems in Birmingham between 19-21 May. It took place during Growth Hub Week, which marked the fact that 100 per cent of England’s 4.7 million businesses are now covered by the Growth Hub network.

Group outside waving

The innovative Driving Economic Growth programme was run by Professor Daniel Isenberg of Babson College, who first developed the course in the US.

The programme was based around the core challenges facing UK high growth businesses, as outlined in the 2014 ScaleUp Report. Through interactive lectures, exercises, case discussions, and participant application groups and projects, it brought together LEPs and Growth Hubs to focus on the growth and scaleup challenges affecting their specific area. It highlighted how support should be given to local business leaders in order to stimulate scaleup growth.

Nineteen LEP and Growth hub regions were represented on the course, which equated to 50 per cent of England’s LEP and Growth Hub network. Three areas – the Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands Engine and M25 corridor – were prominent, and there was also a strong contingent from Scotland.

Government endorsement and support

The initiative resonates with current Government policy, and did receive powerful ministerial endorsement.

“The support given by the ScaleUp Institute and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative is a terrific example of what Local Enterprise Partnerships and the full growth hub network can offer businesses,” said Anna Soubry, Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise.

She added that it was “great” that the first session of this new programme was held “in the heart of the Midlands Engine, which is home to some of the most innovative businesses in the country and worth more than £200bn to the UK economy.”

The Government has invited the ScaleUp Institute to be part of the Growth Hub and LEP collaborative space as well as the Growth Hub quarterly Leadership Forum, and wishes to support this initiative in the future. “Partnerships like this can help drive our economy, boost productivity and accelerate local growth across the country,” added Anna Soubry.

Irene presentation 2

A huge success with participants

The participants really valued this geographic mix. This was a rare opportunity to spend time with, and learn from, their peers from across the country. All were committed to continue to working together in the future. The ability to leverage each other’s expertise and experiences would benefit their delivery of regional scaleup projects.

We’ll soon be posting a film featuring their thoughts and responses to the course.

Writing summaries 4

Action plans and six-month deliverables

Each region on the final day presented their plan of action and what they would deliver over the next six months. Every participant region saw the value in focusing more closely on scaleups and developing their ecosystems. The numerous common factors in their assessments and plans were striking.

These included:

  • conducting analysis of their existing scaleup ecosystem
  • targeting of scaleups, such as the alumni companies from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, for specific local support; and helping to feed them through to national programmes such as the London Stock Exchange Elite. (Each region noted that they were not yet leveraging these national programs enough, and committed to working with them more closely.)
  • creating scaleup clubs or networks, often around breakfasts or suppers
  • undertaking local gap analysis of scaleup needs
  • shaping a local scaleup programme that emphasises the needs of specific businesses
  • creating a map of scaleup support, in order to make the infrastructure easier to navigate
  • exploring opportunities for collaboration
  • developing indicators, diagnostic tools and indices to identify regionalscaleup patterns
  • celebrating scaleup success and growth stories in regional media
  • developing peer-to-peer learnings, both for scaleups and LEPs/Growth Hubs

Dan wraps up + booklet 2

Next steps

Everyone was extremely positive about the impact of the course and wish to stay closely engaged with the ScaleUp Institute. They were keen to:

  • have “check-in clinics” to assess the progress of their scaleup programme and to continue learning
  • receive a monthly newsletter
  • have ongoing interaction with the thought leadership, research and policy work of the Institute
  • contribute to data analysis, case studies andtracking of scaleups
  • have the ScaleUp Institute as apart of regular Growth Hub and LEP leadership meetings, including specific board meetings to help develop scaleup opportunities
  • meet again in September to check on progess

There has never been a better time for the public and private sectors to work together to support the growth needs of our fastest scaling businesses. This programme provided LEPs and Growth Hubs with vivid and practical examples of how they can ‘lean in’ to support scaleup businesses and help them attain even greater success.

We’re already looking forward to the second programme, which will be held in the autumn. Do let us know if you wish to register for the course.