Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

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Leading programmes breaking down the barriers for scaleups

The 2022 Scaleup Survey highlights the success and optimism of the UK’s fastest growing companies. Scaleups remain ambitious, predicting significant future growth despite feeling the force of macroeconomic headwinds.  

As in previous years, scaleup leaders point to access to markets as their most significant hurdle; 73 per cent report that establishing or expanding their foothold in domestic and international markets is a key issue impacting future growth. Access to talent remains a key concern with six in ten scaleup leaders again identifying the talent pipeline as an issue. 

Scaleup leaders demand improved access to growth capital; in 2022 challenges associated with accessing the right debt and equity finance options was seen as a key priority for over 40 per cent of scaleups. Again, access to infrastructure in which to grow and access R&D facilities is seen as an obstacle for almost 4 in 10 scaleups, both now and looking forward.  

Evidence highlights the critical role the right infrastructure, and particularly R&D facilities, play in driving growth and this year the ScaleUp Institute is pleased to endorse Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. A collaboration between government and the private sector, this important resource aims to support a globally recognised, vibrant ecosystem. Its campus offers scaleups a range of lab and office space alongside scientific and business support.

Scaleups continue to focus on addressing gaps in development across the leadership team. Support from non-executive directors, expert mentors and peer learning remains key. In this review we turn the spotlight on four newly endorsed programmes offering support in this important area.

Innovate UK EDGE Scale Up Programme is aimed at companies already on their scaling journey and able to disrupt existing markets and establish an international markets strategy. It features a board of 22 ‘Scale Up Directors’ who facilitate the scaling journey and provide a matrix of skills and connectivity across multiple domains, such as finance, M&A, international markets, IP, supply chains, scale up leadership and talent management. 

Endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute for its contribution to the development of the West Midlands scaling pipeline, the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth gives 20 weeks’ intensive leadership support to high potential scaling businesses. Support is delivered through a blend of peer learning, one to one mentoring and practical tools and exercises and draws on the latest evidence and research. Participants create tailored growth action plans to drive future scaling success.  

Delivered by the Hunter Foundation, Scale-up Scotland runs over 18 months and offers a blend of experiential, business and peer learning to cohorts of ambitious Scottish entrepreneurs, taking them through the critical components and complexity of business scaleup with the aim of enabling them to achieve their potential quicker. Content is co-created and delivered by experienced entrepreneurs and underpinned by academic rigour. It is pleasing to see that leadership programmes like Scale-up Scotland also include investment readiness support for scaleups, with participants so far raising £26.5m in equity to drive future growth. 

Canada’s Lazaridis ScaleUp Programme, another newly endorsed programme in 2022, works with promising companies from diverse sectors across the country helping them to scale and compete internationally. The programme connects executive teams with a network of senior talent and customised engagement. Participating scaleups have raised CA$2bn+ in new funding. 

We continue to recognise the role of different asset classes as part of scaleups’ growth journeys – with key sources of equity capital continuing to be from VCs and Angels. In 2022 the Institute is pleased to add three highly active Angel Networks to our cohort of case studies – Cambridge Angels, Newable Private Investing and Archangels

We also recognise the ongoing development and activity of institutional funders – the Development Bank of Wales (DBW) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Welsh Government, providing Welsh businesses with capital to start up, strengthen and grow with a focus on high growth ventures. We are pleased to endorse DBW in 2022 for its role as a connector within the Welsh ecosystem, not only providing finance but also linking investee businesses with high growth support from a range of partners across Wales and nationally throughout the UK. 

Developments across the support ecosystem are encouraging. It is pleasing to recognise the excellence that exists and endorse eight programmes that offer vital leadership, investment and infrastructure support to scaleups but we cannot rest on our laurels. Only 1 in 5 scaleups responding to the Annual ScaleUp Survey have participated in a growth focused support programme over the last two years and confidence in the future of the UK as a place for doing business has been shaken. Scaleups feel it is harder to grow now than in the past and demand more tailored support which we as an ecosystem must heed and respond to. 

This chapter describes all the newly endorsed programmes in detail and reviews the progress of those endorsed between 2016 and 2021. We also include a number of practical toolkits, insights, guiding principles and calls to action from leading ecosystem members. 

We highlight these on our Scaleup Support Finder which is designed to help scaleups navigate the business support landscape and identify the most effective programmes, through impact and through peer recommendation. 

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