Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2021

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Alliance Manchester Business School


35 scaleup members

40+ high-potential businesses engaged

3x themed events and an annual review per year

Participating sectors


Alliance Manchester Business School – based at Manchester University – supports the business ecosystem across the North West. In 2018 it launched its Scale-Up Forum to boost scaleup growth through a peer-to-peer initiative supported by the university’s recognised talent, skills and knowledge.

Growing businesses on all stages of their scaleup journey are encouraged to share their experiences as they explore common challenges and gain valuable insights into how different business leaders overcome them. 


During 2021, the Forum has continued to meet four times annually, with workshops delivered virtually and a new “clinic” session following the expert speakers and general questions. The clinic allows one or more businesses in attendance to pitch a brief overview of a theme-related challenge they are experiencing and seek guidance and input from the expert panel and the wider audience. This approach is intended to replicate the peer-to-peer learning element achieved during the original in-person events and increase audience interaction as well as provide potential avenues for follow-up activity. 

Since January the Forum has delivered three member events each attended by around ten scaleups. Two of the major issues covered in the clinic sessions were how to secure external finance to meet growth ambitions and what rules of origin mean for UK-EU trade. These sessions have allowed the businesses in the forum to share their experiences and to explore the challenges and opportunities presented by exporting in a time of COVID set against the backdrop of shifting UK trade-related policy created by Brexit.


Audience-led themed events deliver more engagement. It is important to listen to members and deliver talks and workshops that respond to their requirements.

Business owners from fast growing companies are time poor. Therefore the Forum has positioned membership with the company rather than individuals to offer wider opportunities for the team at each participating scaleup to engage and benefit from the Forum. 


From the end of 2021 the business school will co-ordinate planning of Forum events with The Productivity Institute, a UK-wide research organisation headquartered at The University of Manchester. The future direction of the Forum will be informed in partnership with colleagues at the Institute, the ScaleUp Institute and the University’s SME Working Group, to maximise reach and impact.

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