Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

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Building leadership capacity remains a key factor in sustaining growth for scaleups and in 2022 their focus remains on equipping the wider leadership team with the skills to scale.  

With seven in ten scaleups either having a board in place or having plans to create one, access to the full range of business skills through the wider leadership team is a priority. Critical skills for their leadership teams identified by scaleups include sales and marketing expertise along with brand building and communications.

Growing business links remains a priority focus in accessing strong leadership skills, and this year scaleups reiterate the importance of access to non-executive directors with experience of growing a business. Peer to peer networks are also a key source of new skills and knowledge transfer for scaleup leaders in 2022.

Innovate UK EDGE’s Scale Up Programme is newly endorsed by the Institute in 2022, its reputation and impact having grown significantly since it was initially piloted in 2017/18 following insights and evidence provided by the ScaleUp Institute. Highly innovative scaleups with global market potential are provided support and dedicated account management from a team of ‘Scale Up Directors’ throughout their participation, additionally they are offered access to curated peer support and a newly formed alumni offer. This year it has benefited 174 scaleup leaders, helping them access new skills, fresh perspectives and break into new markets.

The ScaleUp Institute is pleased to endorse the Scale Up Scotland leadership programme in 2022. This 18-month programme is delivered by the Hunter Foundation and offers a blend of experiential, business, and peer-to-peer learning to a cohort of ambitious Scottish entrepreneurs. Its aim is to support entrepreneurs through the critical components and complexity of scaleup, helping them to achieve their growth potential more quickly.

Peer learning and networking benefits are the focus of other key programmes endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute.  Bizsmart’s flagship SmartBoard creates peer communities of six participants from diverse backgrounds and non-competing sectors. Primarily based in Worcestershire, in 2022 Bizsmart has expanded across the West Midlands into Gloucestershire and is set to launch in Birmingham. 

Vistage’s peer advisory groups help scaleup leaders solve challenges in a safe and non-competitive environment, drawing on the knowledge of both peers and expert speakers. Leaders step away from daily demands once a month to focus on their business and connect with other business leaders.  This year has seen the Supper Club rebrand as Helm to reflect a shift in focus to a hybrid offering combining in person and digital access to its founder community and inspirational speakers. 

The latest academic thinking underpins offerings from Cranfield Business School’s Business Growth Programme and Strathclyde Business School’s Growth Advantage Programme (GAP). These business schools provide specialist executive education for local scaleups as well as develop peer interaction. 

Also newly endorsed in 2022, the Lazaridis Scale-Up Program, based at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, highlights the evolution of scaleup programmes in other countries. Since it began, the programme has supported 529 executives and 70 tech-enabled growth businesses across Canada that have raised more than CA$2bn and created more than 4,085 jobs with a 70% average annualised revenue growth rate.

The education sector also supports the development of the scaling pipeline, newly endorsed in 2022, the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth provides intensive, targeted leadership support to businesses with high growth potential through a blend of workshops and one to one mentoring. It supported 247 pipeline companies in their growth journeys this year.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK gives business leaders 100 hours of fully funded education. More than 1,900 leaders have completed the programme which is designed to accelerate the growth through practically focused business and management education. The British Library’s Innovating for Growth programme has supported more than 150 scaleups with business expertise, intelligence and IP information. The programme contributed an increase of £58m GVA to the UK economy in 2016 – 2022. 

Specialist support for key sectors is also a feature of anumber of our endorsed case studies:  fast growing tech companies are able to join the Upscale programme. Delivered by Tech Nation, the programme combines one-to-many learning with peer networking. The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Shott Scale Up Accelerator nurtures and strengthens the leadership capabilities of senior decision makers in UK-based engineering and technology scaling businesses. 

Scaleups continue to focus on the importance of guidance from experienced business people, placing a high value on mentors as a source of support. The Shott Scale Up Accelerator utilises the network of more than 1,700 Royal Academy of Engineering fellows to curate mentoring relationships for participating leaders. The MIT Venture Mentoring Service also uses the networks of its host institute to connect alumni, students and staff with each other to help them to exploit their business ideas. 

One to Watch Inspire Elite has now supported 93 scaleup leaders to develop three to five-year strategies for growth. The programme which offers a blend of networking, workshops and one to one guidance recognises the importance of having a well-defined, written strategy to drive future growth. 

We continue to showcase a wide range of programmes that support scaling businesses to acquire important leadership skills and build strong networks. Scaleups are benefiting from a stronger ecosystem but there is still much to do to help scaleups meet current macroeconomic challenges. Locally available support remains critical and with only 1 in 5 respondents to the scaleup survey accessing a growth focused support programme in the last 12 months there remains more to be done to create nationwide coverage.

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