Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2021

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Coast to Capital


78% reporting enhanced networks

81% report they feel more able to overcome obstacles up from 61%

20% increase in sales with 91% expecting further increases

133 scaling businesses supported by eScalator since 2019

Participating sectors

Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services Technology & Communications


Coast to Capital aims to support the region to become more productive and innovative and so keep pace with other parts of the South. The region hosts major businesses across a range of sectors and leveraging the opportunity this presents is core to the LEP’s current approach and future plans. Current scaleup support is delivered through a combination of national and regional programmes with new programmes building on the success of earlier cohorts. 

ONS data for 2019 shows that there are 775 scaleups in the Coast to Capital LEP: 320 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 630 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 175 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 decreased by -1.40 per 100,000 of population per year.


Scaleups in the Coast to Capital area can access the LEP’s successful eScalator programme. The six-month programme was launched in 2019 and offers business support through facilitated peer to peer groups focusing on barriers to scaling. The programme is aimed at high potential growth businesses and is delivered in partnership with MDHub, a peer to peer business growth network for managing directors based in the South of England. Following completion of the pilot programme participants asked to remain in their cohorts to continue meeting once a month. As a result the eScalator Alumni programme was set up to run for a further six months with a number of peer-to-peer and 1:1 sessions, which during Covid have been delivered online via Zoom.

Additionally, one to one support is offered through a combination of coaching and diagnostic tools: Growth Relationship Associates give long term impartial support and help to identify key areas of potential improvement, while Coast to Capital’s Growth Champion network of industry and business specialists brings a range of specific expertise to scaleups helping to foster growth. This sits alongside the analytical capability delivered through the GROWTHmapper Diagnostics and the digital coach programme, DNAsix. 

In 2020/21 Coast to Capital has also run 10 local cohorts of the national Peer Networks programme, supported by BEIS, focussing this activity on local growth firms. To date it has benefited 85 growth companies of which 37% were female owned or led. This programme uses action learning to enable businesses to discuss their own challenges and gain valuable feedback, equipping themselves with practical solutions to overcome challenges. The cohorts met for 18 hours of facilitated peer to peer sessions and 3.5 hours of 1-2-1 mentoring. The meetings were based around topics determined by the cohort members themselves, although a range of core themes were available for discussion. The facilitators brought specific expertise as required over the delivery period. 

There are also a range of public and private programmes in the South East – find out more on the scaleup support finder here.

impact and results

133 scaling and ambitious businesses have been supported by the eScalator programme to date. Half of the participants changed their aspirations and 8 in 10 developed their networks. Additionally, 9 in 10 businesses taking learnings from the programme implemented changes mainly in sales, recruitment, leadership and management and products or processes. Participants also recorded an average 20% increase in sales and 9 in 10 expect further increases in the next year. 

Peer Networks has supported 85 businesses through 10 cohorts. Feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive with the programme achieving a 73 per cent Net Promoter Score.


The LEP plans to deepen its relationships with larger scaleup businesses across key sectors to identify new opportunities for growth as well help them access skills and expertise. It will also focus on nurturing the supply chains that serve the major business, an area key to economic growth and supporting scaling businesses. 

Coast to Capital is currently recruiting for 10 cohorts of 11 business leaders in the continuation of the peer to peer programme fully funded by BEIS. 

The Escalator Programme is a business lifehack
Daniel Shaw, General Manager, Heyland and Whittle


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 the Coast to Capital LEP have a moderate density of scaleups, and the trend between 2016 and 2019 reveals that few of the local authorities showed an increase in the density of scaleup businesses, and some 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: 8 of the 12 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 8 of the 12 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: 8 of the 12 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 6 of the 12 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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