Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2020

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Thames Valley Berkshire

ScaleUp Berkshire: Connecting scaleups to grow through shared ideas and creating opportunities


35 account managed scaleups

117 referrals to scaleup services

Access to Finance: £1.3 million

Participating sectors

Creative, digital, film, games & media Food & drink Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services


ScaleUp Berkshire was formed by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP following the SUI DEG course held in Autumn 2016 and was shaped by the course’s insight that it was vital to have a clear focus on connectivity and account management. Managed through the Berkshire Business Growth Hub, the Programme brings together a range of dedicated scaleup offerings into a single, clear and highly visible service aimed at ambitious businesses with a turnover greater than £1m. The service includes a range of private and public providers in a ScaleUp Berkshire Consortium.

A micro-site includes links to core offers from Consortium partners, a list of relevant events as well as case studies to inspire businesses to scale and grow.

ONS data for 2017 shows that there are 685 scaleups in the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP: 260 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 565 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 140 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 5.82 per 100,000 of population per year, which is above the median of +3.90 per 100,000 of population.

It’s true what they say, it can be lonely at the top. We needed input from someone who had been where we are, to give us confidence in our growth plans, to be a sounding board, a sense and sanity check.

Adrian Powell, Director & Co-owner

Active Workplace Solutions


Now fully launched, ScaleUp Berkshire Partners work one-to-one with businesses across all sectors to understand their needs and connect them with relevant and specialist services as well providing them with tools to implement and monitor their business strategy. This support is demand-led and scaleups can draw on their Scaleup Partner – a dedicated account manager – as and when they need support.

There is a wide variety of scaleup services in the region but a major barrier for business leaders has been understanding what is available and connecting with the relevant services. To resolve this the ScaleUp Berkshire Programme focuses on account management and connecting scaleup leaders with existing support through the ScaleUp Partner rather than providing one-to-one advice or coaching themselves.

The Programme is targeting a relatively small group of around 300 scaleups which have topped £1m turnover and are growing by at least 20% per year. A further cohort of businesses was added as a result of the ScaleUp Institute’s pilot with HMRC to identify businesses that had scaled in the past three years but did not show up in published databases. A business to benefit from this was Insight Technology which responded to a letter from HMRC signposting it to the Growth Hub and succeeded in securing £300,000 of investment to expand into new office space and grow its team.

One of the top three barriers to growth for Thames Valley Berkshire scaleups is talent recruitment. The LEP has worked with Founders4Schools (F4S) through the Careers & Enterprise Company to connect schools and colleges with businesses in the local area. 73 business leaders have volunteered 717 hours of their time to visit classrooms or to host work experience placements in the LEP area. Nineteen schools in Thames Valley Berkshire have used the service and there have been 15,450 student encounters with F4S volunteers.

I would definitely recommend the Programme, there is no downside. You can access free impartial and independent advice that’s going to add value to your business.
Simon Chandler, Managing Director Creat3D


Over half the businesses identified by Scaleup Berkshire engaged with the Programme and 35 are now being actively account managed. These scaleup businesses are mainly seeking connections to their peers, who have already solved specific problems such as opening a US office plus support to develop and bring in talent and help with raising external finance.

ScaleUp Berkshire has also created a ScaleUp Consortium which includes all those organisations with a service specifically designed for scale-up businesses. Each service is assessed by the Programme to ensure that it provides high quality support appropriate to meet scaleup needs. Forty organisations from both the private and public sector have now been invited to participate and over 117 referrals to these services have been made to date.

The programme was tailored to our needs and has been very effective. Our Adviser took time to understand our business and talked us through our funding options. It was refreshing to receive impartial, honest advice with no agenda. This help meant we secured the investment we needed quicker and can now move forward with our plans.
Michael Avery, Director, Agent Insight – Insight Technology


The ScaleUp Partners have found that it typically takes two or three meetings to build sufficient trust with scaleup business leaders for them to share more confidential details about their business strategy and the issues that are holding back growth. Scaleup leaders value the impartiality of the programme and this has been critical in building trust.

These ambitious leaders are primarily interested in engaging with their peers on a one-to-one basis and are keen to connect with like-minded CEOs who they can call on to get advice on a specific problem. There is currently less appetite for meeting up via group events as these are difficult to fit into busy schedules and less obviously designed to deal with company-specific issues.

An Advisory Board of experienced scaleup leaders and ecosystem players supports the programme in monitoring its overall development and impact.


The ScaleUp Berkshire Programme will continue in 2020/21 to build out the number of scaleup businesses it services and develop peer to peer groups for them and their teams.


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 Thames Valley Berkshire LEP have a high density of scaleups, and the trend between 2014 and 2017 reveals that all of the local authorities showed an increase in the density of scaleup businesses, and all but one showed an above median increase in scaleup density.

Scaleups by Density: Excellent

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

Scaleup Trends Over Time: Good

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: 3 of the 6 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 4 of the 6 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.

Page URL: https://www.scaleupinstitute.org.uk/articles/thames-valley-berkshire/

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