Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

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Greater Manchester


74 new markets entered by Global Scale-Up participants

104 new jobs created by Global Scale-Up participants

111% average increase in revenues by Creative Scale-Up participants

200+ jobs created or safeguarded by Recipe4Succes participants

54 Scale-Up Forum members

3x themed events and an annual review per year through the Scale-Up Forum


Greater Manchester’s ambition is to help a wider group of scaling companies and those with high-growth potential with a particular focus on tech and manufacturing. Regional dynamics include a strong push on the green agenda and a focus on social value as businesses reassess post-pandemic. Other scaleup trends in Greater Manchester include increasing interest in international expansion with a particularly keen focus on the US and Middle East. While many businesses are reporting challenges related to skill shortages and accessing talent.

These dynamics are shaping the business support landscape across the city region with increased focus in the flagship Global Scale-Up programme which is supporting scaleups from across the manufacturing and tech sectors.

Continuing the transition of support following the pandemic Greater Manchester is moving away from online delivery to largely in person scaleup support. This trend is accompanied by an increasing focus on in-house support with the flexibility to bring in specialist skills when needed. 

Their developing model is a modular approach, with businesses electing to attend all modules or only those most relevant to their scaling ambition. A peer-to-peer element will help foster collaboration, bringing scaleups together to support one another while still allowing for flexibility.

Future focus for Greater Manchester will be informed by meticulous evaluation of programmes. It will include supporting scaleups at the beginning of their journey to scale up faster, particularly those in the tech and digital space, and setting up structures that will allow the ecosystem to self-maintain.

ONS data for 2020 shows that there are 1,440 scaleups in the Greater Manchester LEP: 540 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 1,185 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 285 are scaleups that are increasing both employment and turnover simultaneously.

The ONS data reflects that across the four-year period from 2017 to 2020 the density of scaleups has decreased by -1.37 per 100,000 of population per year.


Global Scale-up is an internationalisation programme, launched in 2019, that takes high growth businesses across a range of sectors through a four-stage process – Onboarding, International Growth Sprints, Bootcamps and International Visit – to increase their global footprint. Each business is assigned a dedicated account manager to provide support and guidance throughout the programme. In 2021 the programme was recognised as ‘One to Watch’ by the ScaleUp Institute for its increasing evidence of support to break down the barriers faced by scaleups entering international markets.

In 2018, Alliance Manchester Business School – based at Manchester University – launched the Scale-Up Forum. The Forum encourages scaling businesses on all stages of their scaleup journey to share their experiences as they explore common challenges and gain valuable insights into how different business leaders overcome them. Recent sessions have focused on wellbeing in the workplace, growth in AI and achieving innovation. Additionally participants can access a seed funding competition offering “vouchers” of up to £5k to cover academic time to work on small projects in response to key scaleup challenges, including research to explore new markets and supply chains, or to improve their sustainability.

To support access to growth capital the Pathway 2 Equity equips businesses with the knowledge and skills needed to develop equity and fundraising propositions. The programme includes constructive feedback on proposals from professionals along with access to investors and intermediaries as well as peer to peer support. 

Funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Creative Scale-up programme  was piloted in the region between 2020 and 2021. Following a successful submission for funding, the newly rebranded Create Growth Programme will relaunch in Q4 2022. It is a sector specific scaleup programme that helps businesses in the creative industries to further develop their leadership capabilities and growth strategy in order to become investment ready and access finance to support them to scale further. Themes for the programme include diverse inclusive leadership, IP, investment and finance, and globalisation. In collaboration with the ScaleUp Institute and UKBAA the pilot programme also sought to enhance investor capacity through curated activities and the development of a peer-to-peer investor toolkit and knowledge hub, Invest In Creative.

Other sector-specific support include:

Recipe4Success, a programme tailored to early stage businesses with growth potential in the food and drink industry. It is designed to help businesses diversify and create more market access channels, building on the rise of localism and restaurant ‘experiences’. 

STEP INto Healthcare which helps businesses in the life sciences sector to scale up. It provides access to networks, strategic knowledge and market opportunities through a combination of one-to-one support and workshops with leading industry experts.

Greater Connected Exceed is a programme for digital, creative and tech businesses delivered by experienced sector experts. Fully-funded it offers wraparound support to turn strategic vision into business reality.  Exceed blends one-to-one help from business advisers with roundtables with seasoned leaders who have successfully scaled their businesses.  

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


The Global Scale-Up programme has supported 222 Greater Manchester scaleups who have created 104 jobs and entered 74 new markets since joining the programme.

The Creative Scale-up pilot programme supported 144 scaling businesses who noted 111% average increase in revenues across the programme.  20 per cent of the participants are currently exporting and more than a third have attended market access workshops as part of the programme. Additionally, participants have secured investment of £2m and have engaged with more than 250 investors.  

Scaling businesses participating in the  Recipe4Success programme have created 75 new and safeguarded another 132 jobs. The programme has a focus on diversity with a significant number of businesses having at least one female founder or BAME leader.


Greater Manchester plans to focus on the levelling up agenda including diversity, inclusivity and skills. A focus on cyber, digital innovation and big tech will further support the region’s ambition to become a world class cyber technology hub. A planned Innovation Accelerator will benefit scaleups through boosting innovation and attracting new R&D investment.

Alongside the expansion of the Create Growth Programme, further enhancements are being made to the region’s support programmes. In the next year, the Recipe4Success programme is planning to improve the Meet the Buyer session at the end of the programme to include more major retailers and local chains. It aims to support over 60 new businesses. 

“Working with Greater Connected has really helped to crystallise my business planning and created an exciting route for growth.” Julia Mitchell, Managing Director – Toast PR

“Greater Connected gave us a deeper understanding of the dynamics of today’s business thinking and, crucially, how we can apply these learnings to improve our performance.” Bash Ali, Founder and Director – SUNDE Technologies Ltd


According to ScaleUp Institute analysis of data received directly from ONS for years 2017-2020, the following picture emerges on the local environment.

Local Authorities located within the Greater Manchester LEP have a moderate density of scaleups, and the trend between 2017 and 2020 reveals that few 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: 5 of the 10 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 6 of the 10 local authorities have a below 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: 6 of the 10 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 5 of the 10 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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