Scale-Up Report

Published in November 2014, this landmark report explains how a boost of just one per cent to the UK scaleup population should drive an additional 238,000 jobs and £38bn to GVA within three years

The report examines successful collaborations between business and government that have taken place over the past 20 years in 20 other countries and recommends actions. It investigates the potential boost to the UK economy if we could enable as many small companies to grow large by the implementation of such support mechanisms.

Data shows that the UK lag behind the US and other leading economies in the extent to which our companies scale. This is the ‘scale-up gap’. Our promising companies struggle to grow domestically and expand internationally and are taken over by larger – often foreign – firms at a significant discount to their potential. This is a major issue because scale-up companies are crucial to national competitive advantage in that they drive economic growth, job creation, and productivity in the longer term. This report sets out a clear plan of action to close the scale-up gap.

The report makes recommendations for national and local government, universities, schools, colleges, large corporates and the media to improve the ecosystem for scale-up companies. This plan focuses on six areas: targeting, supporting, promoting and reporting on scale-up gap closure; accessing talent; Developing scale-up leadership; Increasing customer sales at home and abroad; Financing scale-ups; Accessing infrastructure

Summary of recommendations

Recommendation 1

National data sets should be made available so that local public and private sector organisations can identify, target and evaluate their support to scale-up companies, and evaluate their impact on uk economic growth.

Recommendation 2

Publicly funded organisations such as local enterprise partnerships and cities seeking public funding should review and report on the extent to which the top 50 scale-ups in their areas are increasing their turnover and job growth from year to year with the objective of increasing the proportion of scale-ups with more than 250 employees by three per cent by 2025.

Recommendation 3

50 per cent of public funding and promotion currently reserved for ‘entrepreneurship’ should be directed towards collaborative initiatives based on evidence of these initiatives’ track-record that demonstrates impact on employment and turnover growth of scale-up companies and the return on investment of their efforts.

Recommendation 4

A minister should be made responsible for reversing the scale-up gap by 2025 with cross-departmental resources allocated, independent bodies named to monitor and a task-force appointed to deliver a scale-up report to the pm every november for the next five years.

Recommendation 5

The Department for Education and Local Enterprise Partnerships should ensure that Britain is in the top 5 of the oecD pisa rankings for numeracy and literacy by 2025 and use their convening and promotional power to ensure educational institutions guarantee that students at schools, colleges and universities come into contact with the top 50 scale-up business-leaders within 20 miles of their establishment.

Recommendation 6

Local Enterprise Partnerships and city / cluster/ ecosystem leaders should work with existing private collaborative initiatives to promote the top 50 scale-up companies in their jurisdiction to adults for the next phase of their careers.

Recommendation 7

A ‘scale-up Visa’ should be made available from local enterprise partnerships to the top local scale-up companies so they can recruit staff from overseas within two weeks of applying. These foreign workers help expand the distribution of local scale-up companies’ existing products to foreign markets and help local scale-ups introduce new products and services.

Recommendation 8

Local enterprise partnerships, universities and the private sector should work together to ensure effective learning programmes are available in their areas aimed at leadership development of scale-ups.

Recommendation 9

The government should draw attention to scale-up companies and their leaders so that it is easier for them to act as role models to others and to find customers, partners and investors, both at home and overseas.

  • UK Trade and Investment should ensure that scale-up companies are well represented on international trade missions, and publish details annually.
  • Central and local government should publicly report on the level of procurement they source from scale-up companies and their funding should be reviewed in terms of the amount of procurement they do with scale-ups.

Recommendation 10

The impact of regulation ‘cycle time’ on rapidly growing companies should be a major consideration for regulators and agencies. agencies that interact frequently with scale-ups, like the Border authority, listing authority and hmrc should report on their efficiency in relation to regulatory peers in other countries.

Recommendation 11

Government and industry must ensure that progress in closing the finance-gap is maintained and review and report on the extent to which scale-ups, in particular, are supported.

Recommendation 12

Government and industry must ensure that progress in infrastructure areas is maintained and review and report on the extent to which scale-ups, in particular, are catered for.

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