Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

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Liverpool City Region


40 scaling businesses in 4 Business Scale Up MBA cohorts

30 successful applicants for Future Innovation Fund

163 high-growth digital and tech companies supported through the Gather suite of programmes

22% - 40% average growth rate of Innovation Sprint participants

100 export markets of LCR businesses

£8.5bn exports in goods and services


Liverpool City Region (LCR) is in a transitional phase in terms of scaleup support as it moves towards an account management model with specialist high-growth advisers engaging scaleups and potential scaleups across the region. 

Brokerage is key to the LCR’s approach with advisers using high growth diagnostic tools to identify and engage scaleups and to understand the challenges they face. Scaleups are then connected to the specialist support that will best create growth.

All activity across the LEP is focused on high growth and scaling businesses and programmes are based around small cohorts of businesses in order to deliver the greatest impact.  LCR works with delivery partners including the region’s combined authority and local authorities to develop 

bespoke interventions around critical areas including innovation and export. It is also looking to develop further support for scaling businesses in the net zero space.

Key growth sectors in the region include advanced manufacturing and health and life sciences as well as creative and digital, with a particular focus on gaming. This sits alongside significant growth in financial and professional services and clean growth. LCR has also a strong exporting profile within the Automotive, Manufacturing and Chemical industry with significant future opportunities within the advanced manufacturing and health and life sciences sectors, including pharmaceutical and infection control.

ONS data for 2020 shows that there are 590 scaleups in the Liverpool City Region LEP: 210 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 500 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 120 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 -0.91 per 100,000 of population per year.


Scaleup and scaling businesses in Liverpool City Region have access to a range of programmes helping them achieve their growth ambitions.

MBA Business Scale Up is the first MBA programme focused on scaleups. Now in its fourth year, it is a two-year part-time masters level degree, delivered by Liverpool John Moores University. Modules are divided into four phases: Accelerating Business Growth, Developing the Business for Scale, Leadership Strategies to Enable Growth and the Business Growth Project. After the first year, scaling business leaders diagnose areas for accelerated growth and create action plans.

The Edge Hill University Productivity & Innovation Centre provides innovation support and advisory services to Lancashire and Liverpool City Region based early-stage and scaling businesses. As part of their support, the three-month  Innovation Sprint Programme addresses challenges to growth and helps scaleups develop financially feasible solutions by focusing on product and service innovation. 

The LCR High Growth Programme is designed to support businesses demonstrating high growth potential to innovate, adapt, and grow. It offers a range of support measures to drive innovation and growth. Four account managers work with leaders to take a forensic look at their business and connect them with support that will best create growth. As part of the High Growth Programme, the High Growth Innovation Fund provided match-funded grants worth £25k – £75k to businesses with plans for growth.

Gather is part of the LCR Metro Mayor’s Business Growth Package support and is aimed at creative, tech and tech-enabled businesses. Launched in 2020, it delivers 1-2-1 support with dedicated growth consultants, a suite of events, activities and support programmes to digital, creative and tech-enabled businesses along with dedicated programmes for scaling businesses. Gather: Beyond, is 6-month programme providing dedicated strategic support to help businesses through their scaling journey, high-performance coaching, peer-to-peer learning and a bespoke consultancy plan to help them unlock sustainable growth. 

The Clean Growth UK programme delivered by Liverpool John Moores University in the area, helps early-stage and scaling businesses develop clean and green products, services and processes through access to research expertise and facilities, free expert workshops and business resources and funding opportunities.

Additionally, delivered by the University of Liverpool Management School, the Help to Grow: Management supports senior managers to boost business performance, resilience and long-term growth. Combining online and face-to-face learning, participants finish the course with a tailored business growth plan as well as access to an extensive alumni programme and network.

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


40 scaling businesses have now been through 4 cohorts of the MBA Business Scale Up programme. 22 have now completed the programme and a further 18 are progressing through the programme.  

Over 190 early stage and scaling businesses have benefited from Productivity & Innovation Centre support to address their growth and scaleup challenges and opportunities and to develop financially feasible solutions. These have launched over 100 new products and services and created more than 410 new jobs. On average, businesses who complete the Innovation Sprint programme and stick to their growth action plan achieve between 22 – 40% growth.

200 expressions of interest for the LCR High Growth programme led to 40 successful scaling businesses awarded grants of between £25-75k grants worth £2.24m in total.

Gather suite of programmes have now supported 163 high-growth digital, creative and tech businesses. These created 199 new jobs and safeguarded a further 193 and noted turnover growth of £5,165,268. They also benefitted from 274 additional support interventions.

The Clean Growth UK programme has a network of 2,500 businesses across the three regions and has supported the creation of 791 new jobs. Additionally, 292 innovative planet-friendly products and 415 innovation and R&D projects have been developed. 


Liverpool City Region is currently seeking to develop a new local Angel Network. This will promote angel syndication and co-investment. In addition, it is developing a new tech accelerator project which will take the form of a sprint for tech companies, along with a locally networked seed equity fund focused on growth. Furthermore, Liverpool City’s Export Plan aims to increase its current exports total of £8.5bn in goods and services to meet the UK Government’s target of £11.8bn by 2030.

“The support has been incredible working on the Innovation Sprint Programme at Edge Hill University. Taking time to work on the business has allowed us to focus on areas of technical innovation and business development. As part of this process, we identified opportunities to introduce a digital service management software to maximise our customer base with more flexibility and scalability. As a result of the programme, we have successfully launched a new Equipment Service Division.” Marc Fitzpatrick, Managing Director – Titan Mechanical Services Ltd, which has subsequently increased turnover by 198% over the last three years

“The knowledge developed throughout the MBA has been transformative for CNC Robotics. We have been able to utilise the learning to write a collaborative bid for an Innovate UK research project, that will not only further our organisation’s capability, and accelerate transformative technology nationally and internationally, it will inspire and strengthen resilience and responsiveness in the global supply chain and positively impact the Liverpool City Region, creating high value, highly skilled jobs within the region.” Madina Barker, Director and Owner – CNC Robotics


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 Liverpool City Region LEP have a 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 the majority showed an above median increase in scaleup density.

Scaleups by Density: Needs Improvement

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 6 local authorities have a below median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 5 of the 6 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: 4 of the 6 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 4 of the 6 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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