Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2020

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Coast to Capital

Mobilising the scaleup ecosystem


110 scaling companies supported by Peer Network

23.6% ave increase in revenue

7% exporting for the first time

30% ave increase in profits and 20% ave increase in sales

Participating sectors

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


The region has an ambition to be the most dynamic non-city region in England and has made scaleups a major driver of its growth plan.  It launched its first scaleup programme – Escalator – in October 2018 delivered in partnership with MDHUB Ltd – a leading peer-to-peer business growth network.

The programme proved very successful and alumni showcased the progress they had made at an Evening of Entrepreneurship which led to an Escalator Alumni programme. The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic has meant that plans for the second Escalator programme have been delayed with immediate activity in 2020 focusing on development of new peer networks. 

ONS data for 2018 shows that there are 975 scaleups in the Coast to Capital LEP: 375 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 795 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 195 are scaleups that are increasing both employment and turnover simultaneously.

The ONS data reflects that across the four-year period from 2015 to 2018 the density of scaleups has increased by 0.82 per 100,000 of population per year, which is above the median of +0.68 per 100,000 of population.


The first six-month Escalator Programme was successfully completed in September 2019.  As a result of this success some of the members asked to remain in their cohorts to continue meeting once a month and so the Escalator Alumni programme was set up to run for a further six months with a number of peer to peer sessions and 1:1 sessions.  During Covid-19 these were delivered via Zoom.

C2C is currently running 10 cohorts of between 8 – 11 companies in a peer to peer programme fully funded by BEIS.  The Peers Networks programme uses action learning to enable businesses to discuss their own challenges while gaining and reflecting on valuable feedback and then implementing practical solutions to overcome them.  

Covering a wide range of issues from finance and HR to sales, marketing and more, an expert facilitator from MDHUB gives businesses the flexibility to create a trusted support network, helping to build and strengthen businesses and improve overall performance.

Most of the support C2C gave businesses throughout this lockdown was via virtual 1:1 clinics with topic experts chosen from a network of Growth Champions and Escalator facilitators. Alumni peer sessions continued virtually and were focussed around managing teams remotely, working on COVID recovery plans, accessing recovery loans, financial reforecasting and dealing with cancelled orders.


Scaleups have limited time for workshops and masterclasses and instead value how peer networks provide them with the time to develop trusted and respected relationships with other like-minded scale-up owners. Although not the ideal, virtual meetings have ensured that the attendance rate for peer groups has been practically 100%.  A reason for this is the responsibility each member of the cohort feels towards the rest of the members.


Collaboration with local Universities, including Chichester, Sussex, Brighton and Surrey, continues ensuring the LEP has the best possible expertise and reduces duplication of effort and support for businesses.  The LEP is also working in collaboration with West Sussex local authority to help plan and improve digital adoption in the C2C area.

I see the Escalator Programme as a life hack for the business community. I would give it a big fat 10 out of 10 to help change our business and to break into new markets.
Dan Shaw – General Manager of Heyland and Whittle Ltd


According to ScaleUp Institute analysis of data received directly from ONS for years 2015-2018, the following picture emerges on the local environment.

Local Authorities located within the Coast to Capital LEP have a moderate density of scaleups, and the trend between 2015 and 2018 reveals that some of the local authorities showed an increase in the density of scaleup businesses, and some showed an above median increase in scaleup density.

Scaleups by Density: Moderate

The vertical axis of this matrix shows where local authorities located in this LEP stand compared to the rest of the UK: 9 of the 14 local authorities have a below median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 9 of the 14 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by turnover growth.

Scaleup Trends Over Time: Moderate

The horizontal axis of this matrix shows whether the density of scaleups has increased or decreased over time relative to the rest of the UK: 9 of the 14 local authorities are below the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 8 of the 14 local authorities are above the median for scaleups by turnover.

The ScaleUp Institute will continue to monitor this closely in the coming years to track whether local initiatives move the dial in the right direction for increasing the density of scaleups.

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