Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

Select a section to expand and explore this year's review..

Location, location, location

Generating a locally-based, vibrant and connected scaleup ecosystem has been a ScaleUp Institute priority from the outset. Today, as scaleups face the combined impact of increasing costs, low levels of business and consumer confidence, supply chain issues and the twin pressures of the energy crisis and geopolitical uncertainty, this is more important than ever. 

In 2022, scaleups send a clear message that they want more from the support ecosystem. They demand better access to the government and other resources with a focus on local delivery.

Five in ten demand easier access to Innovate UK, funding initiatives and schemes that support R&D and innovation while four in ten scaleups want better access to Growth Hubs, LEPs and devolved enterprise agencies. Scaleups want access to the latest academic, financial and professional service expertise and four in ten seek access to non-executive directors and tailored growth support.

The shape of support is important and, as in previous years, people and place remain high on the agenda. In 2022, a growing numbers scaleups – seven in ten – favoured an account management model of support with a dedicated relationship manager to help them navigate the best private and public options, tailoring a support package to their individual business needs. To help overcome access to markets challenges they want more ‘meet the buyer’ events and half are seeking opportunities to showcase their services and products. 

Location is paramount and scaleups demand high quality local support that gives them local access to peer networks, procurement mentors and flexible leadership and international programmes. At present, half of scaleups feel let down by the local support ecosystem and feel investment and business support is too focused on London and the South East. Scaleups want to be identified on the public record with eight in ten happy to share their scaleup status and half saying that this should be on an opt-in basis. 

Collaboration with LEPs, Growth Hubs, cities, devolved bodies and universities started in 2016 when the ScaleUp Institute held the first ‘Driving Local Economic Growth through Scaleup Ecosystems’ (DEG) course.  This gave participants an understanding of the common frameworks deployed globally to remove barriers to growth experienced by scaleups and challenged them to develop action plans in their areas. 

Subsequent activity created a strong commitment to action among around 200 ecosystem leaders – many of whom have gone on to become ambassadors or growth champions supporting the ScaleUp Institute’s work nationwide. They have been proactive in building supportive frameworks and bespoke scaleup support. Our latest mapping suggests that there are over 250 programmes either specifically designed for scaleups or that can support scaling. Details can be found on the ScaleUp Support FinderHowever more needs to be done and in 2023 we will be delivering further workshops for our economic development leaders on what it takes to evolve the local innovation and scaleup ecosystem including learnings and good practice from around the UK and internationally. 

Responding to scaleup demands, many use an account management model to deliver bespoke programmes of support that blend peer learning with business and leadership development. Many partner with nationwide programmes and networks including Innovate UK and collaborate with universities, business schools and both public and private sector organisations to give scaleups access to the latest developments in business thinking and support. 

To further break down barriers to growth capital the ScaleUp Institute and the British Business Bank have brought together key parts of the investor ecosystem in Access to Finance seminars in five localities across the UK. This Regional Finance programme as so far had over 250 in person delegates and with additional sessions planned in early 2023. It builds upon a successful virtual series of events run across 2021 and H1 2022, which had a reach of more than 500 delegates across the series. The Regional Finance Programme used a variety of modules including working groups for relevant local scaling businesses, ecosystem players and advisors; regional roundtables focusing on scaleup finance; and educational sessions for scaling businesses.

In this report we share what we believe to be exemplar areas in scaleup ecosystem support. In 2022, we are pleased to add South East Midlands LEP (SEMLEP) to that number. SEMLEP is highlighted for its interconnectivity with local universities leveraging their expertise and resources to develop the Growth Curve programme, an intensive leadership programme that sets scaleups on a sustainable growth trajectory using a blend of deep-dive analytics, university-led masterclasses and one to one support.

In the following pages we record the progress of exemplars and set out detailed descriptions of the scaleup support each exemplar area offers. We believe that each provides an interesting model of engagement and activity from which others can learn as they develop their own scaleup plans. We will continue to monitor these for impact and will seek to feature them as endorsed case studies in future years. These programmes also feature on the online ScaleUp Support Finder where businesses can register interest.

At the end of this Review, we provide an overview of the scaleup plans and programmes across all local areas in the UK in an Annex.

Previous – Programmes Endorsed & Ones to Watch Infrastructure