Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2021

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Thames Valley Berkshire



110 businesses actively engaged between Nov 2018 and June 2021

43% companies reported increased employment of more than 20%

14 companies raised £14.14m in finance

29.8% average employment growth

+£5.3m increase in turnover

Participating sectors

Building & Construction Defence & security Food & drink Professional services


ScaleUp Berkshire, based on learnings from the SUI DEG programme, is the LEP’s major initiative with a clear objective to remove barriers to scaleups across the region.

The region is home to a wide variety of scaleup services but a major barrier for business leaders has been understanding what is available and connecting with the relevant services. 

ScaleUp Berkshire seeks to resolve this by helping scaleup business leaders understand what is available and working to connect them with the right programme of support, drawing on the wide range of scaleup services on offer. It is based on an account management model and targets high-growth businesses that have achieved turnover in excess of £1m, linking them with specialist support delivered through a range of private and public sector experts. 

Activity this year has been focused on supporting participants to meet the continuing challenges presented by Covid-19 and help them adapt to the new business reality. 

ONS data for 2019 shows that there are 640 scaleups in the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP: 240 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 545 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 145 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 1.76 per 100,000 of population per year.


Since its lauch in 2018, ScaleUp Berkshire has worked with scaleups across all sectors to connect them with specialist support at a local, regional and national level. Action includes signposting business to specialist support from peer-to-peer networking, and mentoring to accessing new markets, creating growth and access to finance. Programmes are delivered in partnership with public and private sector bodies. 

A range of tools and resources supports scaleups to develop and drive business strategy, establish links with funding partners and with academia giving them access to new talent and skills. This is underpinned by one-to-one peer connections to facilitate the sharing of experiences and new ideas and to build mutually beneficial, long-term relationships.

In addition to the scaleup programme, the Berkshire Peer Networks pilot programme is available to local growth businesses. Part of the national programme funded by BEIS, it involves 18 hours of facilitated group sessions with fellow local business leaders. In Berkshire particular focus has been placed on offering this support to scaling businesses and to date the support has been well received by both existing and new scaleups. Most groups established as part of Peer Networks have remained together after the programme finished.

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

impact and results

Between November 2018 and June 2021, 110 scaleups were actively engaged by Thames Valley Berkshire employing 1,500 people and have a combined turnover of over £400m. At any given time over 60 businesses are being actively supported. Across scaling participants employee headcount increased by 29.8%; combined have increased revenues by £5.3 million with 58% of them showing turnover growth of more than 20%; and 14 scaling businesses have raised £14m in funding.


HR management and access to skilled talent are ranking as the most pressing issues for local scaling businesses at present followed by raising finance, signifying an appetite for renewed growth.


Building on work already started under ScaleUp Berkshire, the LEP will aim to increase access to one-to-one account management support for scaling businesses. This will include signposting to resources, assets and specialist scaleup experts and will create a better-connected scaleup ecosystem to help generate further growth.

It is developing an enhanced range of online resources along with innovative diagnostic and self-service tools. The LEP is also looking at new ways to increase peer support between local scaleups.

The meetings with the advisor on the high-growth programme were incredibly valuable.
Matt Durant, Managing Director, BAM

How you scale a business is a real challenge and the peer group has been absolutely brilliant for that.
Rory Waterer, Managing Director, Urban Planters 

It’s true what they say, it can be lonely at the top. We needed input from someone who had been where we were, to give us confidence with our growth plans, to be a sounding board, a sense and sanity check.
Adrian Powell, Active Workplace Solutions


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 Thames Valley Berkshire LEP have a high density of scaleups, and the trend between 2016 and 2019 reveals that all of the local authorities showed an increase in the density of scaleup businesses, and all showed an above median increase in scaleup density.

Scaleups by Density: Excellent

The vertical axis of this matrix shows where local authorities located in this LEP stand compared to the rest of the UK: all of the 6 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and all of the 6 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: 4 of the 6 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and all of the 6 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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