Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2020

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Sheffield City Region

Harnessing the expertise of successful tech founders to help businesses scale

109 Scaleups supported since August 2018 – 48 in the past year

102 critical introductions to investors over past 12 months

£15m+ total investment raised

65 jobs created in past 12 months

Participating sectors

Technology & Communications


Business Sheffield has recognised the need for tailored provision to support the needs of its burgeoning and scaling tech sector – an industry it had not previously focussed on. Tech employers were identified as having the potential to make a big impact on the city with those accessing investment able to build large teams of highly skilled roles quickly.

In response, three ‘Tech Scale Up Advisors’ have been recruited and retained on a consultancy basis. All three Tech Scale Up Advisors had founded their own successful tech businesses and were briefed to use their years of experience and skills to locate and build relationships with tech-sector founders, from highly promising start-ups to more established tech businesses looking to scale.

ONS data for 2018 shows that there are 795 scaleups in the Sheffield City Region LEP: 305 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 640 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 2015 to 2018 the density of scaleups has increased by 0.91 per 100,000 of population per year, which is above the median of +0.68 per 100,000 of population.


The Tech Scale Up Advisors offer 1:1 support and mentoring across a full range of business challenges from validation through to investment (and beyond). Each relationship differs in its subject and intensity, but broadly speaking the themes covered include a mix of NED and mentor type support including hard and soft skills and knowledge development, linking founders to high level contacts, opportunities and networks and providing input to strategy and direction.

A major focus of the programme is on accessing finance and the Advisors play a critical role in building relationships with investors and advising on investment deals as well as providing feedback on investment readiness work such as business plans, cashflow forecasts and pitch decks.


A total of 109 tech businesses have been engaged since the programme began in August 2018 of which 48 have been actively supported in the last 12 months. 

In the past 12 months 65 jobs have been created and 102 critical introductions made to external investors. 

In 22 of the 48 businesses for which data is available, revenue increased by a total of £3,169,500, representing an average change of +58.15% on the previous year. 88% of those businesses supported in the last 12 months reported that the intervention had increased their confidence or leadership capacity.

The advisor saw us when we were looking to raise funding through the equity investment route. He gave great insight into what investors were looking for and we were able to work together to pull together a plan of potential investors, their needs and what information they would be looking for.
Ian Pickles, founder, iMoves 


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 Sheffield City Region LEP have a moderate-low density of scaleups, and the trend between 2015 and 2018 reveals that most 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: Needs Improvement

The vertical axis of this matrix shows where local authorities located in this LEP stand compared to the rest of the UK: 6 of the 9 local authorities have a below median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 6 of the 9 local authorities have a below median density of scaleups measured by turnover growth.

Scaleup Trends Over Time: Moderate

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 9 local authorities are below the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 6 of the 9 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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