Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2021

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

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly


4,500 businesses with ambition to scale benefited from diagnostics and training needs analysis

£7m CIOSIF equity investment into 30 businesses

£10.7m Private Sector Leverage

64% of Future Focus participants have shown more than 20% turnover increase

57% expecting to access new markets or customers as a result of Future Focus

Participating sectors

Building & Construction Engineering / Advanced Engineering Food & drink Professional services


Information sharing and access to ‘real time’ data across its partner network continues to shape the support offered by CIOS and allow it to target and monitor scaling businesses using its database tool. 

Learnings from the SUI Driving Economic Growth course continue to inform its segmented approach to delivering support. This approach is further enhanced by harnessing data platforms with its cluster partners in the south-west peninsula to target growth businesses and monitor the scaleup ecosystem. Its Economic Recovery Group further supports growth across the region. 

ONS data for 2019 shows that there are 260 scaleups in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP: 105 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 200 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 45 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 -3.43 per 100,000 of population per year.


Scaleups in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly can access a range of programmes targeted at scaleups and the scaling pipeline and get targetted support to their needs through the LEP and growth hub.

  • The Future Focus programme delivered by Unlocking Potential in partnership with the University of Exeter – supports scaling businesses to deliver action plans. Tailored support is given through peer-to-peer workshops and innovation coaching. This is complemented by access to academic research and expertise as well as funding. Its Knowledge Exchange component allows participating businesses to test the market for their new innovations. 
  • The CIOS Investment Fund, a collaboration with the Business Bank, was launched in 2018 to create jobs and encourage and attract additional private-sector investment. It allows scaleups access to a £40 million equity fund who can apply for equity funding from £25,000 to £2m to support further growth. 

A Skills Hub operates alongside the CIOS Growth Hub. This offers skills analysis allowing scaleups to respond to challenges and access training. A personalised Skills Toolkit supports leaders to review skills in their scaleups, nurture talent and recruit and retain the right people to support growth. 

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


The CIOS Investment Fund to date has invested around £7m into 30 businesses through 36 investments across the region and has leveraged £10.7m private sector finance. £4.4m equity funding was awarded to 10 businesses and £2.5 debt finance to 20 businesses.

In 2020, an evaluation report of the Future Focus programme showed that two thirds of the participants reported an increase in turnover with 64% reporting a turnover increase of more than 20%. 24% of the participants have accessed new markets and another 57% are expecting to access new markets or customers in the future as a result of Future Focus. 53% of the participants reported an increase in business resilience and 43% felt more confident for the future.


During the last year the LEP’s remote operation ‘matured’ to the point that this is the method it will mainly adopt in the future. It has continued conversations and referral mechanisms with partners to ensure that scaleup and high growth businesses can quickly access the support they need. Additionally, support was put in place for businesses who wanted to grow into new markets post-Brexit with specific financial consultancy packages in industries like agriculture and fisheries.


An increasingly focused and targeted approach is planned. The LEP also plans to use carefully targeted consultancy services to accelerate growth in key sectors. It continues to work with partners to leverage data and further target the support it offers.

Because of the things we learnt from the Future Focus Labs, we are now seeing sales conversions up 58% from our social media channels.
Neil, Elixir Health

The Innovation coaching we received really impacted us..What started looking at the brand and where we were going, is now embedded into what we are doing in the future. It has been massively valuable. Future Focus has also helped us grow the visibility of the company so much out there. The likes of Microsoft and IBM have approached us, which wouldn’t have happened had we not been so visible.
Jeremy Sneller, Touchbyte

Having my [Business Development Manager from Future Focus] there was particularly helpful.  She mentored me through the process, provided me with a sounding board and gave me advice when I really needed it. It helped a lot.
Louise Nicholettos, Cornwall Physio


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 Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP have a moderate density of scaleups, and the trend between 2016 and 2019 reveals that none 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: Moderate

The vertical axis of this matrix shows where local authorities located in this LEP stand compared to the rest of the UK: 1 of the 2 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 1 of the 2 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: 1 of the 2 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 1 of the 2 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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