Scaleup programmes

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Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


scaling and pipeline businesses supported


annual average growth in turnover


average annual increase in profitability


Public ROI


of businesses have improved their innovation and growth management

The High Growth Innovation Sprint programme is a fully funded three-month programme designed to support scaling companies to overcome scaleup barriers. It is the ‘flagship’ offering from Edge Hill University’s SME Productivity & Innovation Centre (PIC) which was set up in 2017 to deliver a complement of research-informed, impact driven programmes that unlock the growth potential of early-stage and scaling businesses based in the Lancashire and Liverpool City region. The PIC is focused on locally defined priority sectors and provides a strategic gateway to the University for pipeline potential scaleups, facilitating access to expertise and engagement with students and academics. 

The High Growth Innovation Sprint programme supports scaleup potential businesses to enhance their strategic growth plans with specific focus on building leadership and workforce capacity. It further supports the development of market penetration plans and workforce strategies.

Its dedicated support includes scaleup strategy development, intensive online workshops, one to one support with academics and business experts and world-class rapid innovation tools and frameworks. Developing a scaleup strategy for increasing access to domestic or international markets is at the heart of what the High Growth Innovation Sprint Programme offers. Utilising market research and rich data collection to aid decision-making, the programme tailors its support to each business’ growth strategy amongst Market penetration, Market development, or Product and/or service development.

Furthermore, the programme provides follow-on opportunities to collaborate with the University, students, and PIC’s SME network and access to a range of follow-on finance and funding opportunities. For those looking to obtain financial investment products, the PIC will refer them to specialist finance organisations in the region such as Rose Bud Finance in Lancashire and MSIF in Liverpool City Region, or directly to programmes within PIC’s private sector network such as Lloyds or Barclays.

Since 2017,  the Innovation Sprint Programme has supported 240 high growth potential businesses of which 235 have created 517 new jobs. On average, participating businesses achieve 29% average growth in turnover. 113 new to firm products and services, and 32 new to market products and services have been developed, while 88% of participating businesses have seen noticeable improvement in their resource allocation; 83% have invested some capital into process improvements; 88% have improved their innovation and growth management and 93% have seen noticeable improvement in their approach to market penetration. The programme’s latest independent evaluation, published March 2023, found participants typically achieve between 25% to 48% profitability improvements and a return on public investment of £1 : £13.90.

Additional scaleup support for participants is available through PIC’s other active programmes like the Skills for Growth programme providing access to students and graduates; the Leadership for Growth programmes offering professional body leadership and management training; and the Innovation Adoption Accelerator available for those looking for technology investment. 

Scaleup leaders consistently state that they want access to local expertise from universities and business schools, including access to academic and graduate talent. The ScaleUp Institute is pleased to endorse the activities of Edge Hill University’s High Growth Innovation Sprint programme in 2023’s Annual Review as an exemplar of this type of support and the role universities across the country can play as anchor institutions in the scaleup ecosystem.