Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2021

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


The Global Scale-up Programme [2021]

Access to Markets

Key sectors

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

The Global Scale-up Programme (GSU) is a fully-funded public/private sector collaboration between The Growth Company and KPMG, Santander, business services company DWF and Manchester Airport. It guides Greater Manchester’s scaling businesses ready to expand internationally through a 4-stage process in cohorts of 10-15 participants.

It is tailored to the needs of each business participant who are assigned for 12 months a dedicated account manager whose role is to guide them through the programme. Participants begin with an onboarding during which they meet their fellow cohort members and hear from the programme partners.

This is followed by the International Growth Sprints, now delivered virtually over two half days, that bring the senior management together to fully develop their international ambitions and quarterly bootcamps where the businesses receive one-to-one support from market specialists within the partner network.

The final stage is the International Visits phase which during lockdown were all virtual but in-person activity is now being planned again for the end of 2021. For this phase, opportunities are curated overseas using GSU’s global networks and private sector partners. The GSU team works closely with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to establish strong connections overseas to create warm introductions to global ecosystems for each business coming through the programme. 

To date 80 businesses have been supported by the programme with 30 in the current cohort. Participants have created 80 jobs and increased cumulative turnover by £60m; 27 businesses have entered 75 new markets and 22 have raised £31m in finance.

The Global Scale-up programme has been highlighted as One to Watch by the ScaleUp Institute for its role in breaking down the barriers to accessing international markets for scaling businesses in the North West, building on learnings from the Mayor’s International Business Programme in London. Following discussions at the 2020 ScaleUp Review launch, a new collaboration between the two culminated in the launch of REACH – the London and Manchester: Race Ethnicity And Cultural Heritage Virtual Trade Mission to North America – which is the subject of our ScaleUp Insight, Tales from two cities. 

We will watch the progress and impact of the Global Scale-up Programme with interest. 


Mayor of London’s International Business Programme [2021]

Access to Markets

Impact for scaleups


Businesses supported since programme started


Jobs created


New international deals


Increased GVA


Finance raised


Virtual trade missions

Key sectors

Creative, digital, film, games & media Environmental Science & Technology Finance Life Sciences & Biotech

The Mayor’s International Business Programme (MIBP) is now in its sixth year and is widely recognised for delivering a high-quality export programme. Launched by London & Partners in 2016 it has supported some of the fastest growing tech companies from the Capital which are now recognised brands in their fields.

To be eligible for the programme businesses must be London-based and looking to expand internationally; they should employ between 10 and 249 workers and be generating revenues of at least £1m per annum, or the equivalent in funding (or a combination of both) as well as demonstrate steady growth with active projects, domestically or internationally.

The free 12-month programme is individually tailored towards each business, providing support and advice for international expansion success. It offers practical advice and on-the-ground support, both in London and in global markets.

From the first Covid-19 lockdown MIBP switched to delivering online workshops to remain engaged and relevant to business needs and challenges. The programme involved 100+ individual events involving partners, mentors and wider stakeholders. Since March 2020 there have been 16 virtual trade missions across all major markets and sectors. These were designed to support businesses in engaging with global corporates seeking tech solutions, investors and advisors and included two new initiatives – MIBP China and MIBP India – launched in June 2021. Both initiatives will provide online support for 12 months to companies committed to these markets as the likelihood of physically visiting these markets soon remains slim.

MIBP has also built links in 2021 with the Manchester Global Scale-up Programme following discussions at the 2020 Annual ScaleUp Review launch. It delivered a virtual trade mission in partnership with the Manchester Growth Company to support 15 London and Manchester-based diverse Founders with their expansion into North America. Called R.E.A.C.H (Race, Ethnic and Cultural Heritage), it focused on helping the Founders better understand the market, engage with corporates, investors and start-up founders.


Sharing in Growth (SiG) [2021]

Access to Markets

Impact for scaleups


Value of contracts won


Jobs created and secured


Business coaches and global experts


Scaling businesses supported

Key sectors

Engineering / Advanced Engineering Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing

Action through supply chains

Faced with the challenge of the pandemic and the Government’s commitment to increase R&D spending, high value supply chains will be vital to deliver economic value to the UK. Since 2013, Sharing in Growth (SiG) has worked with aerospace supply chain companies to improve their productivity and competitiveness and be better placed to win a share of the global aerospace market. As a result more than 80 scaling companies on the programme have secured more than £5.2 billion in contracts – equivalent to more than 9,100 high-value jobs.

In 2020 offshore wind – a significant growth sector – was added to the programme of targeted support that comes from SiG’s 100-strong team of business coaches as well as a network of global experts including the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing, Deloitte and the National Physical Laboratory. 

The economic shock of Covid-19 has had a massive impact on many UK companies’ cash balances. Combined with the ongoing transition to new trading arrangements with Europe and beyond it has made facing up to the complex leadership tasks of restructuring, accelerating productivity, diversifying and winning new customers vital. These challenges lie at the heart of SiG’s offering. In 2020, an interim independent assessment for BEIS noted ‘a significant increase in beneficiary turnover and headcount compared to their control groups’. The programme was  also the recipient of a Princess Royal Training Award for its impact on participating companies.

SiG has continued to strengthen its remote learning offer, adding over 25 subject specific webinars and producing over 60 case studies and other online resources. SiG has also continued to provide safe onsite support when conditions have allowed. In 2021, Sharing in Growth announced the launch of their Alumni programme, allowing existing client beneficiaries of the public-funded Aerospace programme to continue their journey through a commercial agreement.


Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK) [2021]

Access to Markets

Impact for scaleups


Scale Up Club members in 2021


Female leaders


Scale Up Club Alumni


Revenue generated in 2020

Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK) – founded in 2006 – works to support entrepreneurs on their journey to scale by removing barriers and connecting them to the tech ecosystem.

To achieve this SVC2UK organises a year-round series of events that bring together students, policymakers and first-time CEOs with serial entrepreneurs and investors from the US and the UK. It has also provided bespoke mentoring to over 830 founders and CEOs of scaleups to help them build their businesses and make new connections in Silicon Valley and across North America.

In 2021, SVC2UK launched Beyond HERizons to build on their ongoing support for female founders. Highly targeted and curated, the programme works with a cohort of 15 female entrepreneurs for a full year to help them secure series A investment; it also includes a trade mission to Silicon Valley.  It will be run annually with applications launched every year on International Women’s Day in March.

Every November SVC2UK hosts a summit which has been attended by over 35,000 guests to date. This year’s will use a hybrid format to bring together the tech community, leading entrepreneurs, investors and global thought leaders to discuss the role technology can play in solving some of the greatest challenges of our time. Major themes for 2021 include sustainability, health and wellbeing, inclusive growth and innovation and trailblazing technologies and ideas. 

SVC2UK is run out of London & Partners, a social enterprise funded by the Mayor of London, grants, partners and a portfolio of venture businesses.


Match-Maker Ventures [2021]

Access to Markets

Key sectors

Creative, digital, film, games & media Finance

Match-Maker Venture’s (MMV) ambition is to create a world where business collaboration has no borders. It is working to achieve this by guiding growing businesses and established corporations to each other, accelerating the process of collaboration.

Based in Vienna, MMV’s global network has now increased to around 120 Match Makers and it is active in more than 40 countries across Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia; in 2021 it entered the Latin American and Australian markets. In the past year MMV has expanded its horizon in financial services and insurance while keeping telecom at the core of its offering. Since 2015 it has partnered with over 30 scaleups and more than 100 startups to provide its sales training programme.
MMV’s approach is based on the insight that nine out of ten buying decisions are made with peer recommendations. Using that approach it matches its network members, who have executive experience in specific industries, understand the sector and access to corporate customers, to growing businesses and manages the collaboration process from end to end. MMV has introduced an internal Lead Identification and Account Management function responsible for collecting, analysing and validating the connections of network members. This approach and mindset enables MMV to make data driven decisions and to understand who has the best connections to which account on a global scale thus increasing its success rate and international footprint.

Portfolio companies are offered a phased programme based on the understanding that selling to large corporates is not a straightforward process but requires knowledge and preparation. As a result, businesses are initially offered a sales acceleration service that involves examining their business model, agreeing a sales approach and identifying target customers. Companies are also assigned an engagement manager.

In the second – market approach phase – match-makers approach priority companies and open doors, assess the likelihood of a deal and any barriers and perform sales activities alongside the company. In the full match-making phase MMV develops opportunities to close deals.
In 2021 MMV organised more than 15 deep dive sessions to help network members engage with scaleups. In September it held a virtual Match-Maker Meetup with 50+ participants focused on fostering collaboration among network members.

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