Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

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South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority


837 supported by ScaleUp 360

26% female-led scaling businesses supported by ScaleUp 360

146 New to market/firm products developed through the ScaleUp 360

400 scaling businesses supported to recruit over 500 graduates through RISE

1:£3.90 ROI of the RISE programme


Collaboration is central to South Yorkshire’s scaleup support. The aim is to create a cohesive system to support high growth companies throughout their scaling journey. This includes specialist support delivered with Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and other FE and private sector partners.  Scaleups have access to a range of regional incubators and accelerators including the Sheffield Hallam i-Lab, a dynamic co-working innovation and incubation space and a focal point for the region’s business growth programmes.

The local area looks at growth potential in wider terms, seeking to identify potential growth companies according to an array of criteria, including through assessing capabilities, ambition, capacity and opportunity. Ongoing dialogue with scaleups throughout their growth journeys is central to the local area’s approach and is facilitated by its mentor network. The region is well supported through engagement with its two local universities.

A key focus for South Yorkshire is the retention of its current cluster of scaleups. Alongside breaking down barriers to new markets, and aligned to evidence from the ScaleUp Institute’s drivers of local growth, the local area sees a range of other factors as important to developing and retaining scaleups including connectivity with local talent pools, access to growth finance and developing new collaborative opportunities with and between local scaleups and other key parts of the ecosystem.  South Yorkshire is also continuing to support FE interaction to grow awareness of the viability of entrepreneurship as a career path.  

ONS data for 2020 shows that there are 540 scaleups in the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority: 180 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 460 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 100 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 -2.71 per 100,000 of population per year.


Scaleup support in Sheffield City Region was initially focused on the  high tech sector but has now been expanded to respond to demand from other key sectors including hospitality.  

Local scaling businesses can connect with the talent pipeline through the RISE scheme to recruit local graduates from Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam Universities. The initiative was first piloted in 2013 by Sheffield City Council in partnership with the two universities.  The programme’s aim is to support scaling businesses to create new jobs and appoint graduates by giving them the tools and know-how to become successful graduate employers and retain exceptional talent in the region. RISE advisers work with scaleups to understand their needs and ambitions and support them throughout the recruitment process, helping them draw out the best  from applicants. Relationship Managers provide support beyond the point of graduate appointment, ensuring that learning from the recruitment is embedded and the new employee is supported to help realise the scaleup’s growth aspirations.  

South Yorkshire’s ScaleUp 360 offers tailored support to entrepreneurs and scaling pipeline businesses with the ambition and potential to scale. Part funded by the ERDF, the programme gives scaleups one-to-one specialist advice and support and bespoke coaching and mentoring along with workshops delivered by specialist advisers. Participants can access incubation and networking facilities at the Hallam i-Lab to help grow their business network as well as design and prototyping support to maximise product potential.

Scaleup 360 is designed to be flexible with participants able to focus their 12 hours of support on the business challenges and enablers most relevant to their scaling journey. Scaling businesses completing the programme have access to further mentoring support and a series of ten business workshops while they are also referred to other support programmes delivered by the consortium plus other local ERDF support programmes and the Sheffield Incubation and Accelerator Network

The shape of scaleup support in the region means that scaling companies can draw on the wider business support ecosystem. Key delivery partners include SHU, Business Sheffield, Barnsley Innovation Centre and Chambers of Commerce. 

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


Since 2013 RISE has supported more than 400 scaling businesses to recruit over 500 graduates. Initial assessment of the RISE programme noted £7.7m of net additional GVA to the SCR economy and a return on investment of £14.03 for every £1 invested.

Since 2020, Scaleup 360 has supported 837 companies, with 26 per cent being female-led. Business growth data is still being aggregated from participants however so far 47 New to market and 99 New to firm products have been developed and 39 new enterprises have been created as a result of the programme.  


South Yorkshire is continuing with the implementation of its new 20-year Strategic Economic Plan which aims to create 33,000 higher level jobs, an extra £7.6bn GVA, and become a net zero carbon economy. To support this the local area is looking to create a continuum of support for the region’s scaleups which will include a new accelerator programme.  

“RISE has been instrumental in helping us to recruit talented graduates who want to work in the Sheffield City Region and as a direct result we have six capable graduates working in engineering and sales. The RISE team, including the two Sheffield universities, has a lot to offer local employers” Charles Turner, Managing Director – Durham Duplex

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 South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority have a low density of scaleups, and the trend between 2017 and 2020 reveals that none of the local authorities showed an increase in the density of scaleup businesses, but none 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 Combined Authority stand compared to the rest of the UK: all of the 4 local authorities have a below median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 3 of the 4 local authorities have a below median density of scaleups measured by turnover growth.

Scaleup Trends Over Time: Needs Improvement

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: 3 of the 4 local authorities are below the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and all of the 4 local authorities are below 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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