Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

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Access to Markets

Access to new markets, both domestic and international, remains the single biggest issue for scaleups with almost three quarters (73%) still ranking it as their top barrier to growth. 

Scaleups remain ambitious to enter new markets both at home and internationally.  Domestically, enhancing their ability to sell to government is a key focus with scaleups looking to triple this and double their collaboration.  Three in ten want to increase their work with large corporates.  

Despite this ambition, only one in ten (12%) currently sell direct to government and two in ten (19%) to local government, and six in ten to large corporates. Streamlined procurement and payment processes are critical to realising the full potential of these innovative and ambitious businesses along with access to key decision makers.  Scaleups further demand opportunities to showcase their products and services.

With three quarters of scaleups focused on B2B markets, opportunities to collaborate across the private and public sectors have a vital role to play. Leveraging supply chain opportunities is key to maximising scaleup potential. Endorsed programme Sharing in Growth highlights the power of tapping this potential. Launched in 2013, it has helped open up new opportunities in the aerospace supply chain worth £5.2bn in contracts for scaleups.

Scaleups are international businesses; they have a foothold in markets worldwide with half already exporting. They remain ambitious and the majority look to increase their international market penetration and we must break down export barriers.  

While the EU remains an important market, ambition is global and scaleups aspire to double their footprint in key emerging markets and further penetrate North American and non-EU European markets.  

Support from overseas partners, better access to markets and involvement in international trade mission are key demands. Now in its seventh year, the Mayor’s International Business Programme has this year supported scaleups to expand their international reach through 10 international trade missions and its programme of structured support. 

Designated one to watch by the Scaleup Institute, Manchester-based Global Scale-up Programme is a four stage programme breaking down barriers for North West scaleups with the ambition to penetrate international markets. An account management structure ensures outcomes and experience match individual needs.

Collaborative programme Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK) connects UK scaleups to the global tech ecosystem. Year round events bring together founders, scaleup leaders, first-time CEOs and students with serial entrepreneurs and investors from the US and the UK. SVC2UK champions a diverse ecosystem and offers Beyond HERizons, a curated programme to help female entrepreneurs.

Match-Maker Ventures provides curated introductions and sales support through its global network of 130+ Match Makers spanning 40 countries. It is developing its presence in key strategic growth areas in Latin America and the Middle East – target markets for scaleups – and now maps more than 150,000 corporate connections.

Scaleups are the UK’s most innovative and productive businesses. They are ambitious to grow at home and internationally. To achieve this, they demand increased collaboration and improved support from government and from the private sector along with better access to key people. Some excellent programmes are already helping scaleups to achieve their ambition but more action is urgently needed.

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