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The Global Scale-up Programme [2022]

Access to Markets

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

Launched in 2019, the Global Scale-up Programme (GSU) is a fully-funded programme by The Growth Company and is delivered in partnership with the Department for International Trade, KPMG, DWF, Santander and Manchester Airport. It guides Greater Manchester’s scaling businesses ready to expand internationally through a 4-stage process in cohorts of 10-15 participants.

Each business participant is assigned a dedicated account manager whose role is to guide them through the programme. They begin with an onboarding during which they meet their fellow cohort members and hear from the programme partners.

This is followed by the International Growth Sprints, delivered virtually over two half days, that bring the senior management together to fully develop their international ambitions and quarterly bootcamps where the businesses receive one-to-one support from market specialists within the partner network.

The final stage is the International Visits phase which during lockdown were all virtual but returned to in-person activity in 2021. For this phase, opportunities are curated overseas using GSU’s global networks and private sector partners. The GSU team works closely with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to establish strong connections overseas to create warm introductions to global ecosystems for each business coming through the programme. 

To date, 222 scaling businesses, with the majority operating in the tech and manufacturing sectors have been supported by the programme. Past participants have created 104 jobs; 22 have raised £24.8m, and 27 have entered 74 new markets since joining the programme. In the next year, the programme is planning to broaden its audience alongside scaleup businesses to further support the scaling pipeline in the Greater Manchester area.

The Global Scale-up programme has been highlighted as One to Watch by the ScaleUp Institute for its role in breaking down the barriers to accessing international markets for scaling businesses in the North West, building on learnings from the Mayor’s International Business Programme in London. 

We will continue to watch the progress and impact of the Global Scale-up Programme over the next 12 months with interest. 


“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive experience on the Global Scale-up programme. The team and the partners have gone out of their way to help us as we scale up our international operations, with both specific and practical support. The bootcamps have been brilliant ways to get market information in a concise and distilled way – directly with people on the ground in those markets – and the wider training and support has been critical to our planning and strategy setting. We’re now up to users in 32 countries, and with a much clearer path to sustained international growth thanks to the Global Scale-up programme!” Amy Whitell, Collctiv 


The Global Scale-up Programme [2022] website