Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2020

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Access to Markets

Access to Markets

The challenge of entering new markets – both at home and overseas – has accelerated significantly as an issue with ambitious business leaders.

Problems with accessing markets are increasingly seen as a barrier to growth, with 8 out of 10 scaleups telling the ScaleUp Institute that this remains a significant issue, particularly with regards to collaboration with the private and public sector in the UK itself. Indeed in the 2019 ScaleUp Survey access to UK markets has overtaken access to talent and skills as a vital or very important contributor to future growth.

Despite the evidence that scaleups are significantly more innovative and productive too many barriers are still being put in their way. They are held back by the complexity of processes, finding the right opportunities and the time it takes to win contracts – barriers that are shared by working both with government and large corporates.

These findings underline the importance of programmes that guide companies through complex supply chains or support more effective procurement and collaboration.

In 2019 we worked once more with Nesta to offer insights into how large companies can shape their procurement processes to open more doors to smaller, innovative scaleup companies – actions that are win-win for both parties. Analysing what is working best in the private sector we highlight the characteristics of those companies working most effectively with scaling companies and offer a ten-point “must do” list for forging better collaborations.

We have worked with Tussell to produce the second Scaleup Public Procurement Index to highlight the visible scaleups already working with local and national government and identifying the authorities which are engaging effectively with the scaleup ecosystem.

Many scaleups find the supply chain extremely complicated and opaque and the ScaleUp Institute continues to encourage initiatives to support ambitious businesses navigate industry more effectively. We hold up Sharing in Growth as an exemplar that provides training and development for innovative growing businesses within the UK aerospace industry.

We are also interested in the model adopted by Match-Maker Ventures (MMV) which aims to guide businesses and established corporates to each other. MMV is planning to enter the UK market in 2020; we have identified it as One to Watch and we will monitor its progress with interest.

Opening up markets is a particularly important issue because scaleups remain substantial exporters with five out of ten selling overseas – and they want to do more overseas and in more markets. However, they continue to identify the three major barriers to exporting as access to overseas customers, followed closely by having the right people to win international business and uncertainty over Brexit.

Making those all-important links is highly valuable to scaleups and for this reason we continue to endorse the excellent work of Silicon Valley Comes to the UK which remains an invaluable forum to improve relationships between US and UK scaleups including its support for female founders.

The continued work of the Mayor of London’s International Business Programme is a standout exemplar demonstrating how local/regional City Mayors can make a significant difference. The companies that joined the 12-month programme in 2018 went on to create 1,711 new jobs, closed deals totalling £193m and raised investment to the tune of £486m.

We have recommended others follow this example and so it is excellent to see that the Manchester is adopting a similar model to help its scaleups go global. Newcastle is now considering similar efforts and we would urge more City Mayors to follow their example.

Page URL: https://www.scaleupinstitute.org.uk/articles/markets/

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