Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

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279 new Jobs have been created by Inspire Elite Participants in the last 12 month

28% increase in Gross Revenue in the last 12 months

31% increase in sales

558 connections curated resulting 24 new or significantly improved products / processes / services

61 scaleups were connected with NEDs and 30% of those Scale Up have booked a 12 month NED placement.


Heart of the South West published its Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) in November 2020 alongside its plan to Build Back Better. Its ambition is to create a more resilient, stronger and more prosperous region. The LEP continues its focus on partnerships for growth, continuing its collaboration with Inspire. Its new Somerset Business Growth Programme offers further tailored support to companies with scaling ambition.

The LIS recognises support delivered through the Growth Hub as the most effective mechanism for reaching SMEs and developing their scaling potential to become the engine that will drive the region’s economic growth. This approach is complemented by the Build Back Better recovery plan supporting business growth. 

ONS data for 2020 shows that there are 760 scaleups in the Heart of the South West LEP: 275 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 630 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 2017 to 2020 the density of scaleups has decreased by -1.90 per 100,000 of population per year.


The Inspire Elite programme offers scaling businesses access to networking, training and one-to-one advice and mentoring. Further support is available through a virtual board which allows companies to accelerate growth by consulting highly experienced, successful non-executive directors (NEDs) through a programme of quarterly one-to-ones. Following participation in the programme Inspire Elite offers tailored referrals to other established growth programmes including the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK. 

Additional support for early stage and scaleup businesses is available through Business West’s new Somerset Business Growth Programme. The programme helps scaling companies achieve their growth ambitions through specialist one-to-one support across a range of key business topics. The fully funded programme is tailored to business need, covering key areas including business development, innovation, transformation and decarbonisation. 

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


Inspire Elite scaleups have created 279 new jobs and 95 per cent have increased turnover and are working to a strategic plan that includes developing their leadership knowledge and skills. A quarter of participants are ready to take advanced steps in their growth journey by using the Inspired Board service which is set to double in size over the next year.  


The LEP aims to build a portfolio offer to help scaleups grow at pace through identifying programmes within the business support ecosystem. 

Longitudinal analysis 

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 Heart of the South West LEP have a moderate-low 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: Mixed

The vertical axis of this matrix shows where local authorities located in this LEP stand compared to the rest of the UK: 9 of the 14 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 9 of the 14 local authorities have a below 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: 9 of the 14 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 9 of the 14 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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