Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2021

Select a section to expand and explore this year's review.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough


£4bn+ market value of Babraham campus companies

£1.7bn investment raised by Eagle Labs residents and alumni to date

331 jobs created by 32 businesses participating in Growth Works

£4.05m GVA increase from Growth Works participants

Over 200 scaleups identified by Cambridge Cluster Insights

Participating sectors

Food & drink Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough offers a wide range of programmes supporting growth businesses across a range of sectors and at different stages of growth, a number of these are endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute. Its approach is informed by data and insights about the city and wider region provided by Cambridge Cluster Insights. 

In a collaboration with Metro Dynamics the Cambridge Cluster Insights programme has developed an SME Observatory to help the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority identify scaleup and other high-growth businesses to be targeted by its Business Growth Service. This is used to attract talent, customers and investors from the UK and overseas to businesses across the region’s 14 local authority districts. 

ONS data for 2019 shows that there are 550 scaleups in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough: 210 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 450 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 110 are scaleups that are increasing both employment and turnover simultaneously.

The ONS data reflects that across the four-year period from 2016 to 2019 the density of scaleups has increased by 1.20 per 100,000 of population per year.


A comprehensive range of programmes are available to scaleups across the region including specialist programmes spanning science, technology and low carbon innovation.  Support includes access to finance, new markets, knowledge transfer as well as partnerships with academia and training and mentoring programmes. 

Growth Works is a business support service set by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority. It aims to create at least 5,200 jobs, an extra 1,400 new apprenticeships, 1,700 learning opportunities for people, and generate significant inward investment in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough over the next three years. Growth Works is built around four key strands of activity with a particular focus on strategic advice and support through access to peer networks, masterclasses, dedicated courses and 1-2-1 consultancy along with access to equity and grant funding to accelerate growth.

A leading exemplar providing very effective infrastructure solutions for life science scaleups is the Babraham Research Campus.  The Campus is a connected community for businesses in the life sciences sector that combines flexible working space with comprehensive support programmes and close links to academic and the latest research.  The campus is also home to One Nucleus, which offers specialist training spanning biosafety, laboratory health and safety, managing life science projects and drug development.

Cambridge is also home to both the first ever Barclays Eagles Lab and Barclays Eagles’ flagship incubator which has created a community of innovators, specialising in Artificial Intelligence with close links to the universities and to AI pioneers who are regular visitors to the Lab to share their knowledge and expertise with our members. Another hub of interest to scaleups is the Bradfield Centre which in partnership with Cambridge University is providing space for scaleups in the technology sectors and is developing a scaleup offering.

Cambridge Wireless provides an international community for companies involved in the research, development and application of wireless and mobile, internet, semiconductor and software technologies. It stimulates debate and collaboration, harnesses and shares knowledge and helps to build connections between academia and industry.  

The Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) is a venture capital fund, providing equity finance for scaling businesses based wholly or partially in the East of England. LCIF co-invests alongside private sector investors such as founders, angel investors and other funds to provide finance to growth businesses, LCIF1 invested over £20m and helped closed funding rounds worth £75m. 

A range of additional public and private programmes operate in the East of England – find out more on the scaleup support finder here.


The Combined Authority is setting out a new Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Strategy for the next four years to ensure Cambridgeshire & Peterborough has the leading-edge digital connectivity infrastructure needed for local businesses to thrive and provide wider digital inclusion so that more people can access healthcare, education and jobs. 

Based on SUI’s research, Growth Works has launched a new package of strategic growth support and grant funding starting in October 2021. This will include expert masterclasses and courses as a direct response to research highlighting top challenges faced by growth-focused businesses across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.

The ​​next stage of the Low Carbon Innovation Fund is seeking to invest £11m to help close funding rounds worth at least £30m as part of LCIF2.

We want to be the most inclusive region in the UK for people to start and grow a business or to find the skills they need to boost their career. And we want to be the most accessible, outward looking local economy to inward investment nationally and globally.
Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough

We’re delighted to welcome LCIF2 as an investor in bio-bean. Their investment, alongside continuing support from our existing shareholders, provides us with a platform from which to continue the growth of our business in the UK through the launch of new products such as Inficaf, whilst also further developing routes to market in the EU.
George May, bio-bean

[Growth Works] Peer Networking is a fantastic sounding board for your business to get insights and input and support in the ongoing growth of your business and any challenges that you are currently experiencing.
Tim Davies, Projekt Rising


According to ScaleUp Institute analysis of data received directly from ONS for years 2016-2019, the following picture emerges on the local environment.

Local Authorities located within Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have a moderate-high density of scaleups, and the trend between 2016 and 2019 reveals that some 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: Good

The vertical axis of this matrix shows where local authorities located in this region stand compared to the rest of the UK: 8 of the 11 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 10 of the 11 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: 7 of the 11 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 8 of the 11 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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