Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2020

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

Enterprise M3

Embedding Scaleups in Local Economic Development - driving forward innovation


919 high-growth businesses supported

600 jobs created

6,000 referrals made

Participating sectors

Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security


2020 saw the LEP continue its focus on supporting high growth and scaleup SMEs. Referrals and word of mouth rose with the growth in recognition, sector activity and partner support.  During the first six months it extended its targeting of scaleups in local leading sectors through local and national initiatives and programmes.  The objective was to promote cross-fertilisation of technology to accelerate innovation and growth.

The emergence of Covid-19 did disrupt EM3’s scaleup activity. The scaleup business support programme moved online to provide virtual 1:1 crisis coaching in the short term and then advice on recovery and resilience planning.  Scaleup leaders were also offered a range of group webinars covering issues such as returning to the office and accessing CBILs and other government schemes, to recovery and resilience planning and pivoting.  In the short to medium term businesses have had to quickly adapt and the Growth Hub has been the main source of information and support during this time.

ONS data for 2018 shows that there are 1,170 scaleups in the Enterprise M3 LEP: 470 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 955 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 255 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 1.79 per 100,000 of population per year, which is above the median of +0.68 per 100,000 of population.


EM3’s core Growth Service model is to provide support and guidance to scaleups within identified priority sectors. This is delivered through a small full-time team with senior commercial backgrounds and over 15 sector experts who have experienced scaling. 

It has continued to build on this “Growth Champions” model to provide guidance for scaleups in areas including access to finance, strategic planning, sales and marketing, as well as providing a stewardship role ensuring scaleups are referred to other relevant support and connections.

The LEP has recognised the importance of developing close partnerships with the local ecosystem, including local authorities, universities, private businesses and public sector organisations.  The Growth Hub director leads a quarterly EM3 business support forum including Chambers, FSB, Innovate UK, DIT, EEN and Tech Nation to share good practice and activities. These links have been particularly pertinent to delivering Covid support and recovery coaching. 


Since the Growth Hub started 919 high growth and scaleup SMEs have been supported with 200 in the last 12 months. Although the impact of the pandemic has forced a shift to provision of Covid crisis and recovery coaching, the LEP has made 6,000 referrals to growth services and support including Innovate UK and Tech Nation. Businesses have raised over £10m in investment. Over 600 jobs have been created as a result of engagement with EM3, with 400 being safeguarded over the pandemic. 


The LEP has recognised that post-pandemic recovery planning, innovation and ensuring that SMEs with the potential to scale have access to support and information will be vital to rebuilding the local scaleup ecosystem quickly.

Our adviser shared wisdom in a positive, constructive and beneficial way. We had a clear plan of engagement and Ian steered us to completion. We are now appreciating the very significant benefits his help and support has given us, as we are putting in place our growth plans.
Richard Brittan, Managing Director, Alcis Holdings Limited

We are a young company and first-time entrepreneurs so have come up against many challenges so far. Navigating these with such limited business knowledge was a struggle … enter our adviser.  He has really helped us to focus on the aspects of our business that need the right amount of attention at the right time and to deep-dive into them.
Ben Brearley, Co-Founder, Black Chilli Video.


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 Enterprise M3 LEP have a high density of scaleups, and the trend between 2015 and 2018 reveals that most 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: Excellent

The vertical axis of this matrix shows where local authorities located in this LEP stand compared to the rest of the UK: 12 of the 14 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 13 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: 7 of the 14 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 9 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.

Previous D2N2
Next Greater Birmingham and Solihull