Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2020

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Greater Cambridge and Peterborough


Greater Cambridge and Peterborough plays host to a number of high-quality programmes for scaleups. A number of these programmes are endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute. Cambridge Cluster Insights which we have endorsed since 2017 provide data and insight about the city and region to support scaling businesses in attracting talent, customers and investors from the UK and overseas to companies in Cambridge and 14 neighbouring local authority districts.  

ONS data for 2018 shows that there are 875 scaleups in the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough LEP: 375 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 690 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 190 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 2.38 per 100,000 of population per year, which is above the median of +0.68 per 100,000 of population.


A leading exemplar providing very effective infrastructure solutions for scaleups is the Babraham Research Campus.  The Campus is a connected community for businesses in the life sciences sector that combines flexible working space with comprehensive support programmes and close links to academic and the latest research.  

Cambridge is also home to both the first ever Barclays Eagles Lab and Barclays Eagles’ flagship incubator which has created a community of innovators, specialising in Artificial Intelligence with close links to the universities and to AI pioneers who are regular visitors to the Lab to share their knowledge and expertise with our members. Another hub of interest to scaleups is the Bradfield Centre which in partnership with Cambridge University is providing space for scaleups in the technology sectors and is developing a scaleup offering.

We have also highlighted as one to watch The School for Scale-ups supported by the Cambridge Network.  This gives businesses the benefits of collaborative learning with peers and mentors inside and outside their own company, so they can exchange ideas on management challenges and opportunities. 


Business support has been reorganised in the region since the Business Board replaced the LEP.  In July last year the Business Board published its Local Industrial Strategy with a priority to deliver integrated approaches to business support that ensured scaling businesses had access to growth coaching as well as supporting networks.

As a response to Covid-19 businesses were offered 1:1 Support Sessions with Business Coaches to answer questions and discuss how businesses could adapt and build back stronger.  The Combined Authority also offered a range of webinars to support businesses through the pandemic.


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 Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough LEP have a high density of scaleups, and the trend between 2015 and 2018 reveals that almost all of the local authorities showed an increase in the density of scaleup businesses, and the majority 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: 9 of the 12 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 10 of the 12 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by turnover growth.

Scaleup Trends Over Time: Good

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 12 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 10 of the 12 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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