Scaleup programmes

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Programme

Innovate UK Business Growth (previously Innovate UK EDGE)

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups

222

scaleups supported since 2017

62

scaleups expanded into international markets in past 12 months

1,490

jobs created

50.6%

average turnover increase

565%

estimated ROI

£561m

raised by participating scaleups in grants and equity

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

The Innovate UK Scale Up Programme is aimed at highly innovative, ambitious businesses companies already on their scaling journey and able to disrupt existing markets and establish an international markets strategy. It is available to those scaleups achieving, or with the potential to achieve, 50% compound annual growth rates and over. Informed by evidence and insights from the ScaleUp Institute, the programme has supported 222 scaleups since its inception in 2017.

The programme features a board of thirty-three ‘Scale Up Directors’ who provide a matrix of skills and connectivity across multiple domains including M&A, international markets, IP, supply chains, scale up leadership and talent management. Directors support scaleups through a structured onboarding process that identifies three key scaling challenges. Key challenges identified since the start of the programme centre on commercialisation and market access, access to growth capital, talent acquisition, alongside enhancing internal processes and product innovation. 

Directors facilitate access to wider support as required. This is delivered through one-to-one mentoring and draws on the expertise of Directors and bespoke workshops. A high level Strategic Advisory Board provides another layer of connectivity and access to resources and a structured peer to peer network offers shared experience. 

After this intensive phase of one-on-one support, scaleups transition to become part of the alumni community, receiving ongoing light touch support including key account management. They also participate in new initiatives such as masterclasses and exclusive events that help them establish stronger connections with the private sector. There are currently ninety companies that have joined or are in the process of joining the scaleup alumni community.

In May 2023, a new innovative pilot offer was introduced designed to help Scale Up Programme alumni members secure the right NEDs and Chairs, enhancing board structure, reinforcing corporate governance practices, and bringing new perspectives to scaling companies. 

Leveraging the wider support available from Innovate UK, participating scaleups are also connected with a range of other initiatives including Knowledge Transfer Networks, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and Catapults. Around twelve scaleups were selected to participate in Global Business Innovation Programmes and Global Investment Programmes, benefiting from international visits designed to foster relationships and explore collaboration prospects. Eight of these scaleups were identified as the most promising scaleups and attracted interest from more than one hundred partners who are keen to collaborate with them. Innovate UK EDGE was also pivotal in supporting scaling companies involved in the European Innovation Council Accelerator. Scaleups were invited to pitch to the European panel, supported by Scaleup Directors. Eight scaleups secured a total of £20 million in grant funding. Additionally, in the last 12 months, the programme introduced more than 30 VCs to cohort scaleups to support them around their equity funding rounds. 

Over its lifetime the programme has created more than 1,400 jobs and participating scaleups have raised £561m in grants and equity and had a total turnover increase of £326m. GVA has increased by £74.8m and 62 scaleups were supported to expand into international markets. The programme is ambitious to expand the Scale Up Director team further and aims to reach thirty-nine directors over the coming year.

“During our time on the Innovate UK Scale Up Programme the turnover of the Company has almost doubled. It has been an eventful year for the board with many strategic options to evaluate. We found the independent sounding board support very helpful in navigating our way forward.”
– Phil Westcott – Director, Filament Consulting Group

“The Projective team has grown by over 50% during the Scale Up Programme. We were provided with support on foreign expansion, which saw us open a fully owned subsidiary in the USA and Italy which has helped us secure our export projects. The operations of the company now span across three countries and multiple currencies”
– Ray Welham – Managing Director, Projective Ltd

“During our time with the Scale Up Programme, we have enjoyed the support of a wide range of highly experienced and talented entrepreneurs and businesspeople. These Scale Up Directors have contributed insightfully to our investment activities, connected us with potential investors and sales prospects; as well as helped us with access to useful public support mechanisms. We are grateful to have participated on the programme and would recommend that maturing UK businesses seek out this opportunity to support their growth ambitions”
– Tom Grundy – CEO, Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd

Innovate UK Business Growth (previously Innovate UK EDGE) website