Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2020

Select a section to expand and explore this year's review..

Alliance Manchester Business School


Alliance Manchester Business School supports the business ecosystem across the North West.  Through its Scale-Up Forum launched in 2018 the Manchester University-based School offers its internationally-recognised talent, skills and knowledge to boost scaleup growth in a peer-to-peer initiative.  

Growing businesses on all stages of their scaleup journey are encouraged to share their experiences as they explore common challenges and gain valuable insights into how different business leaders overcome them.  The Forum currently has 35 committed members and over 40 high-potential businesses who are engaged with Scale-Up Forum events.


The Forum meets four times annually. Three thematic Scale-Up Forum talks bring members together to hear insights from academics and practitioners on specific topics. Among the speakers in 2020 was Liam Manton, Founder of Didsbury Gin, who shared his experience of diversifying his business model during the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants also heard from Innovate UK who discussed the benefits of knowledge transfer partnerships. 

Workshops follow each talk; these use a variety of creative and design tools to encourage innovative thinking and problem solving.  The Forum also brings together businesses from Greater Manchester, academics from a range of disciplines and business engagement specialists to work in teams to build management capabilities and develop pathways to further advice and support. The peer to peer environment also provides the opportunity for forum members to network, share experiences and challenges within a safe and closed network.

A Regional Review concludes the annual programme of events. This provides oversight of the national scaleup business landscape and drills down into the local scaleup network and regional performance and impact.

Two virtual events were successfully delivered on Zoom during the Covid-19 lockdown; these followed as closely as possible the format of normal meetings and attendance matched expected numbers at previous in-person events.


Audience-led themed events deliver more engagement. It is important to listen to members and deliver talks and workshops that respond to their requirements.

Business owners from fast growing companies are time poor. Therefore it is better to encourage a company to be a member of the Scale-Up Forum opposed to the business owner. This enables more people from across the company to engage with the forum and its programme of activity.


Alliance Manchester Business School intends to continue to grow the membership of the Scale-Up Forum and will use the University’s strong partnerships to raise awareness of its existence and benefits as well as keeping topics scaleup relevant.

In addition to triennial events, Alliance MBS will continue to develop a Regional Review event that offers a ‘local’ perspective on the wider themes that emerge from the ScaleUp Institute’s Annual Review.

Scaleups are a critical part of the UK economy and need greater recognition and support. I am delighted that Alliance MBS, through its Scale-Up Forum, is supporting these important businesses to address their scaling challenges. Professor Colette Fagan, Vice-President for Research, The University of Manchester.

Previous Swindon and Wiltshire
Next Greater Manchester