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Cambridge Cluster Insights [2021]


Impact for scaleups


Companies identified


Scaleups identified in 2020


Turnover increase of life science scaleups


Employment of scaleups


Turnover of scaleups


Employment increase of ICT scaleups

Key sectors

Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Building & Construction Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Creative, digital, film, games & media Professional services Defence & security Technology & Communications Engineering / Advanced Engineering Transport & Logistics Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare

Cambridge Cluster Insights gives a picture of growth and economic health across the sub-region over ten years and now includes over 80,000 companies and limited partnerships. Designed by the University of Cambridge in partnership with entrepreneurs, the tool supports scaling businesses in Cambridge and 14 neighbouring local authority districts in attracting talent, customers and investors from the UK and overseas. 

Updated in March 2021, it now includes data up to the start of the 2020 Covid lockdown providing employment and turnover data for the Cambridge city region and its surrounding area.

In a collaboration with Metro Dynamics the programme has developed an SME Observatory to help the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority identify scaleup and other high-growth businesses to be targeted by its Business Growth Service.

The latest update – completed in July 2021 – captures the effects of the first Covid lockdown. The picture is one of continued though lower employment growth in Greater Cambridge. Despite this slowdown, Knowledge Intensive (KI) sectors increased their employee headcount on average five times faster than non-KI sectors. This slowdown was mitigated by the strong performance of the life sciences and ICT sectors, underlying their importance as engines for job creation even at times of business and economic uncertainty. 

In 2020, 207 scaleups were identified in the area, contributing £7bn to the local economy and employing 40,966 people. Knowledge Intensive scaleups showed 43.5% growth in turnover since 2019 and 19.4% in employment. Scaleups in the Life sciences and ICT sectoral clusters outperform their peers, showing 98% and 60% growth in turnover respectively. Turnover scaleups in the life sciences have grown 142% in turnover, while employment scaleups showed 27.4% growth in employment.  

Cambridge Cluster Insights [2021] website