Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2020

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

Liverpool City Region

Scale Up MBA and LEP leadership


105 account managed scaleup businesses

Access to Finance £75m funding package aimed at scaling businesses.

Participating sectors

Creative, digital, film, games & media Engineering / Advanced Engineering Finance Food & drink Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services


Since the Manchester Delivering Economic Growth course in 2016 the Liverpool City Region (LCR) LEP has been developing a set of solutions for scaling businesses in partnership with the local ecosystem and John Moores University Business School, including the first dedicated Scale Up MBA.

These scaleup initiatives are coordinated to scaling businesses through dedicated account management, a growth diagnostic, a mentoring network and peer-to-peer scaleup group as well as leadership and management development.

The LEP and University have also partnered in a new ERDF-backed project, LCR Activate, which is aimed at helping businesses to grow through digital technology innovations.

ONS data for 2017 shows that there are 625 scaleups in the Liverpool City Region LEP: 210 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 545 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 130 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 2.62 per 100,000 of population per year, which is below the median of +3.90 per 100,000 of population.

Scale Up Leadership, was particularly effective and powerful and we used it to look at leadership across the business…. The resulting strategy is a year-long plan that addresses all concerns and includes a restructure to ensure resources are in place for the next phase of growth.
Alan Thompson and Kylie Reid, Hi-Impact Consultancy


The MBA Business ScaleUp is delivered over two years and divided into four phases: Accelerating Business Growth, Developing the Business for Scale, Leadership Strategies to Enable Growth and the Business Growth Project. The first year of the two-year programme was completed in 2019 with the scaling business leaders diagnosing areas for accelerated growth and creating plans for developing the business with scale.

This has prepared the business leaders for the third phase which emphasises individual leadership and the importance of equipping other leaders within the organisation to enable growth and the final phase which brings the strands together into a significant project designed for the specific business.

LCR Activate is providing hands-on support and funding to help digital, creative and createch companies to scale. Participants on this programme are being encouraged to join the Scale UP MBA as a continuation of the project. At the same time the current MBA cohort has benefited from LCR Activate especially through discussions around opportunities for innovation and the mapping of business opportunities to investors’ interests.


Currently the Local Growth Hub is account managing 105 scaleup businesses which are demonstrating high growth, typically 20% in turnover and/or jobs.

These businesses are accessing a broad range of finance such as Northern Powerhouse Investment Funds, angel investors, venture funds, loans and grants.

Well-structured programme that is delivering personal and business value. Using practitioners to deliver the programme alongside academics means it is very practical and relevant.
Anthony Neil and Neil Cosgrove, The Lead Agency


The LEP has recently launched a £75m funding package aimed at high growth, scaling businesses. This package will go live in 2020 and will include intensive scale-up programme for tech-led and tech-enabled SMEs.

Liverpool Business School is investigating a “mini MBA” to capture the elements of the programme that relate to the greatest business challenges faced by scaleups. The plan is that business leaders can benefit from the programme alone or having experienced it join the full programme.


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 Liverpool City Region LEP have a low 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, but only one 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: 5 of the 6 local authorities have a below median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and all of the 6 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: 5 of the 6 local authorities are below the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 4 of the 6 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/liverpool-city-region/

Previous Leeds City Region
Next – INSIGHT: Universities & Business Schools – Their role in the scaleup landscape