Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2020

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

Heart of the South West

Leveraging up: Building on learning from what already works


25 scaling businesses

Participating sectors



The Heart of the South West is combining strong knowledge of the barriers faced by high-growth businesses locally with good practices identified from outside the area through the work of SUI and others in order to develop and deliver its local scaleup programme.

Building on in-depth research, exemplars and lessons from DEG 2018 the LEP identified Inspire – which has worked in partnership with Swindon and Wiltshire – through a competitive process to deliver a local programme of support to scaleup businesses.

ONS data for 2017 shows that there are 845 scaleups in the Heart of the South West LEP: 290 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 705 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 150 are scaleups that are increasing both employment and turnover simultaneously.

The ONS data reflects that across the four-year period from 2014 to 2017 the density of scaleups has increased by 4.23 per 100,000 of population per year, which is above the median of +3.90 per 100,000 of population.

Good contacts have emerged from Day One. There is plenty of challenge, lots of good ideas.
Tom Kitching, Owner, Henchmen Ltd


The LEP has partnered with Inspire – a Chamber of Commerce organisation – for them to deliver their Inspire Elite Programme throughout the Heart of the South West area. The aim is to help scaleups bridge the challenge gaps they experience finding skills and talent, access to the right markets, finance and leadership.

The programme launched in Somerset in May 2019 and in Devon in October 2019. The plans are to work with up to 55 businesses during the first year of the programme which will run through to September 2020. The programme will combine peer-to-peer networking and education, one-to-one advice, and mentoring of senior management team. Inspire has linked with Goldman Sachs to introduce members to the 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme.

To compliment this dedicated scaleup service the Heart of the South West Growth Hub sign-posts and refers through experts scaling and high potential growth businesses to other national programmes that help them grow. The Growth Hub has also introduced a specific section on its website for businesses looking to scale, detailing opportunities that cover Innovation, Access to Markets, Building Leadership Capacity & Accessing Talent, and Space & Infrastructure.

Resilience is key; you have to be brave, you have to be courageous. Just to know you have somebody else there – perhaps who you can pick up the phone to – is invaluable.
John Evans, Arthur David Foods


The programme has just begun so it is too early to gather feedback and analysis. However initial indications are very encouraging, with strong attendance at both launch events and with 25 scaling businesses already participating after the Somerset launch.

Heart of the South West will measure impacts as companies progress on their journey.


To build on what already exists as good practice rather than reinvent the wheel.


The LEP will continue to seek feedback from participating businesses to ensure the activity and support available to them is right for their needs.


According to ScaleUp Institute analysis of data received directly from ONS for years 2014-2017, the following picture emerges on the local environment.

Local Authorities located within the Heart of the South West LEP have a highly varying density of scaleups, and the trend between 2014 and 2017 reveals that almost all 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: Needs Improvement

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 15 local authorities have a below median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 8 of the 15 local authorities have a below median density of scaleups measured by turnover growth.

Scaleup Trends Over Time: Needs Improvement

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 15 local authorities are below the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 8 of the 15 local authorities are below 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.

Page URL: https://www.scaleupinstitute.org.uk/articles/heart-of-the-south-west/

Previous Enterprise M3
Next Oxfordshire