Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2021

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

Worcestershire

COMMERCIALISING INNOVATION AND GROWING LOCAL CLUSTERS VIA SEGMENTED SCALEUP SUPPORT AND PEER LEARNING

DATA

£750k grants awarded through the BetaDen programme

£500k private investment leveraged via BetaDen

450 businesses supported by BizSmart in last 5 years

29% average increase in turnover 12 months after joining a SmartBoard

36% average increase in profits 12 months after joining a SmartBoard

Participating sectors

Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare

BACKGROUND

Worcestershire is working to support a dynamic regional economy underpinned by high levels of creativity and connectivity.  Its newly established Innovation Board drives engagement with high-growth local businesses. This includes a suite of regional programmes to foster growth across Worcestershire scaleups from strong local peer-to-peer networks to BetaDen, a dedicated technology accelerator.  

The LEP is also facilitating direct connections between businesses and academia. This gives businesses valuable access to research and expertise that helps them commercialise ideas.

In the past year the LEP has moved to a stronger account management system, providing tailored support to the county’s fastest growing businesses.  

ONS data for 2019 shows that there are 315 scaleups in the Worcestershire LEP: 125 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 260 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 70 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 -1.81 per 100,000 of population per year.

SCALEUP PROGRAMMES

The Elevate growth programme, which commenced in 2020, supports local scaling businesses through one-to-one and peer sessions. The one-to-ones with a growth advisor provide business leaders focused support in developing growth strategy. Specialist advisory sessions are also provided to scaling businesses on specific challenges they are facing, including HR, Marketing and finance. Businesses also participate in peer sessions including leadership and vision, creating cohesive teams and building for value. Elevate also offers targeted programmes for key sectors of the local economy including for Creative Tech businesses and Manufacturing with a focus on supply chain improvement, and Digital Technology and Automated Manufacturing. 

BetaDen is Worcestershire’s technology accelerator offering potential high-growth businesses a 9-month package of support including free office space, mentoring, funding and access to a local network of business leaders.  Established in 2018, BetaDen is co-located with one the UK’s first 5G testbeds at the Malvern Hills Science Park, giving businesses onsite a platform to develop next-generation technology. Four cohorts have completed the programme to date with a fifth launching in 2022.

BizSmart SmartBoards offers fast-growing companies a structured programme that focuses on the major challenges to scaling through peer to peer communities. Its peer groups are delivered around a recurring 90-day planning cycle and themed quarterly sessions, participants also have access to an online learning platform that provides over 30 modules with 80 supporting video tutorials. In the last five years, BizSmart has worked with over 450 local business owners.  Bizsmart has been endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute in 2021 for its proven impact in supporting local business growth. 

Alongside these core programmes Worcestershire offers an ongoing series of tech talks aimed at building the technology ecosystem, evolving new opportunities and increasing digital adoption. This is complemented by the facilitation of links between academia and local businesses giving them access to valuable insights and cutting-edge research as well expertise to support the move from concept to commercialisation.  The connections developed with academic partners also provides access to next generation talent.

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

IMPACT AND RESULTS

Worcestershire is continuing to investigate and develop new potential public / private investment models in the local area with a focus on building more active angel networks and providing more dynamic and segmented advice, knowledge and guidance for those entrepreneurs looking to scale up.

FUTURE PLANS

Worcestershire is continuing to investigate and develop new potential public / private investment models in the local area with a focus on building more active angel networks and providing more dynamic and segmented advice, knowledge and guidance for those entrepreneurs looking to scale up.

We are opening a new office and creating two new divisions, it was great to discuss [with peers on the Elevate programme] key challenges around people strategies and the how the plans that we have in place are going to address those, they were very open and honest about what was going to work and what wouldn’t. Having them as a sounding board was essential.
Nick Baxter, Baxter Williams

Being part of a varied cohort [at BetaDen] adds real value in terms of working alongside other entrepreneurs – learning from their experiences and bringing fresh perspectives that allow us to identify new opportunities and improve our business model.
Claire Owen, co-founder, DronePrep

LONGITUDINAL ANALYSIS

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 Worcestershire 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: Good

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

Scaleup Trends Over Time: Mixed

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: all of the 6 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 4 of the 6 local authorities are below 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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