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Making The UK The Best Place To Scale A Business

On the threshold of a new decade we have twin emotions: huge delight that working with our partners the ScaleUp Institute has seen so much progress for UK scaleups but some concern about the challenges ahead.

The speed of progress has been immense. It was just four years ago, following the 2014 analysis1, that the ScaleUp Institute set off on its mission to tackle the barriers that were preventing companies from scaling further and faster. Each year since we have been able to report on fresh and encouraging developments.

Our 2016 Review reported how local and national players were establishing a more focused ecosystem for scaling companies following our inaugural Driving Local Economic Growth through scaleup ecosystems courses2.  Across 2017, through research, data and education, we developed the route map for local ecosystems to come together to address their scaleup barriers and we brought a scaleup lens to the national policy agenda. In 2018 we celebrated how the UK Government had embedded scaleups into major policy strategies and how number of locally rooted initiatives so valuable to scaleup leaders were rising steadily.

In the 2019 Review we can report that finally all areas of the country are experiencing scaleup growth. We can see that as more programmes are launched across the country we are beginning to make headway in terms of issues such as leadership development. But we are far from complacent. The challenge of access to markets is fast accelerating as a concern for scaleup business leaders and this is particularly disquieting as the UK moves into a challenging economic period with much uncertainty facing business and some forecasts of a slowing of scaleup growth to come.

Our efforts to open up markets at home and abroad must be redoubled if we are to realise our ambition to move the UK to the top of the OECD ranks in scaling a business, with the prize of thousands of extra jobs and billions in economic value and prosperity that would bring. We cannot afford to lose the progress we have secured, we cannot risk opening up the scaling gap that we have been working so hard to close.

It is also crucial that the ecosystem helps to link scaling businesses with the talent they need to flourish and continue growing, particularly with entrepreneurs who have experience of scaling and can be brought on board as non-executives or finance experts who can bring knowledge of funding  and investment. The evolution of peer networks for scaling leaders across disciplines and better collaboration with scaleups between academia, corporates, and government remain areas that need much further impetus. Leveraging what works is also vital – rather than reinventing the wheel.

These are the priorities for the ScaleUp Institute in 2020. With the new Government we will press the case for robust policy action to promote collaboration and support overseas sales. We will also continue our engagement with the British Business Bank and Innovate UK to ensure that investment, funding and  support for globalisation is clearly seen to be available across the regions and nations of the UK. We will remain focussed on ensuring no gaps widen or emerge from the ever evolving EU dynamics.

And as in previous years we will drive forward our programme of analysis, research, education, and national and local engagement. Our Committees will continue to evaluate the evidence provided through case studies, with a particular emphasis on local and regional programmes and will use responses to our new Scaleup Support Finder to progress this.

We are entering a new era and we begin that era with grateful thanks to Sherry Coutu for her passionate chairmanship of the ScaleUp Institute in its formative years and a strong welcome to our new chair Adam Hale. He will bring his experience as entrepreneur who has successfully scaled to our enduring mission. Our pledge to work to make the UK the best place in the world for ambitious business leaders to choose to scale their business remains even more relevant today. We call on all those who have an interest in building an innovative, creative and dynamic economy fit to face future challenges to join us in making this ambition a reality.

Page URL: https://www.scaleupinstitute.org.uk/articles/making-the-uk-the-best-place-to-scale-a-business/

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