Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2020

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Worcestershire

Growth Using Technology Networks – Creating A Commercial Technology Culture

DATA

Over 500 businesses engaged in scaleup activities in 2020

Participating sectors

Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare

BACKGROUND

Worcestershire is focused on creating a connected, creative and dynamic economy building a range of peer-to-peer events for ambitious businesses and supporting entrepreneurs and scaleups through its dedicated technology accelerator – BetaDen. Three cohorts of seven companies have already been supported and a recruitment for a fourth will be launched shortly. 

Direct connections are being made with academia, providing relevant research, expertise to commercialise business ideas and access to graduates and talent.

ONS data for 2018 shows that there are 325 scaleups in the Worcestershire LEP: 120 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 265 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 60 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 2.74 per 100,000 of population per year, which is above the median of +0.8 per 100,000 of population.

SCALEUP PROGRAMMES

Scaleups can benefit from the 12-month Business Growth programme delivered by BizSmart with regular tutorials and exercises as well in-depth analysis of business performance. BizSmart also provides SmartBoards which deliver peer-to-peer networking for growth and scaleup companies supported by business experts.

BetaDen – co-located one of the UK’s first 5G testbeds at the Malvern Hills Science Park – provides a platform for businesses to develop next-generation technology, such as the internet of things and industry 4.0. BetaDen also offers entrepreneurs, startups and scaleup businesses a package of business support including free office space, mentorship from selected experts, access to Worcestershire’s 5G testbed advice and proof of concept funds.

Worcestershire has a series of peer-to-peer initiatives: “Inspiring Growth-Journey to Success” attracted more than 200 business to six learning events while eight “Scale-up Club” events held in partnership with BizSmart also attracted 200 participants.  A third programme Accelerating Growth is targeted at businesses with 5+ employees and turnover above £500k to discuss major issues around growing a business with specially invited like-minded business leaders. Four events were delivered between January 2020 to July 2020.  The first two events were physical events that attracted 42 businesses.  The June & July events were delivered online to 30 businesses in total.  

With the arrival of Covid restrictions all programmes were moved online and despite some initial challenges around the use of technology and the ability to forge relationships among peers, the LEP has found scaling entrepreneurs keen to participate to help plan future business. 

LESSONS LEARNED

A lesson learned was that larger SMEs (10+ employees) do not engage in one-to-many events via e-shots or doing social media campaigns. As shown in SUI research, it is clear that the relationship with each Business Engagement Manager is vital to the promotion of a programme and to explain the benefits of sharing experience with business owners/managers of companies of a similar size. As a result this has been the approach taken through the work to deliver Accelerating Growth events/initiative.

FUTURE PLANS

The LEP continues to develop the BetaDen programme and recently hired a Programme Funding Manager to help raise external finance for the initiative. 

There’s a consensus out there that there is a lot to support start-up but it was very much tailored to the beginning of the journey.  Ten years down the line you want to go forward but you’re not quite sure how to.  The scaleup advice I received was tailored to what I was looking for.
Emily Clarke, Co-Managing Director, Clarke Oil

LONGITUDINAL ANALYSIS

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 Worcestershire LEP have a moderate-high density of scaleups, and the trend between 2015 and 2018 reveals that all of the local authorities showed an increase in the density of scaleup businesses, but few showed an above median increase in scaleup density.

Scaleups by Density: Good

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 an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 4 of the 6 local authorities have an above 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: 4 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 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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