Research & Policy

Social Scaleups: High growth businesses with impact

Social businesses account for a large and growing portion of the UK business sector. Their business models lie on a spectrum ranging from strongly commercial to purely charitable, with many combining these elements to respond to complex and challenging community, environmental and broader societal concerns.

However, these businesses are not usually seen as high growth.

Using data from the Annual ScaleUp Survey, in-depth interviews with social scaleup leaders and an analysis of equity investments into 231 social businesses, this report reveals the nature of the social scaleup ecosystem in the UK.

Key Findings:

  • Social businesses are operating at scale and are present across all industries and regions.
  • They are similar to their peers, citing access to talent and markets as key barriers to growth.
  • There has been at least £446m of equity investment into UK social businesses since 2015, however social businesses face challenges accessing patient capital and finding the ‘right’ investor.

This report was produced jointly by the ScaleUp Institute and Barclays. The analysis of equity investments into social businesses was performed by Barclays.

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