Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

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Thames Valley Berkshire


>£210k in grant funding allocated to 6 scaleups through the Business Capital Grants Fund

£48m private investment leveraged through the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator

>1200 jobs created and safeguarded via Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator


The ecosystem in Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) is dominated by four key sectors: life sciences, green technology, digital and creative industries. Each has seen significant growth along with IT, largely as an enabling sector. 

New developments in the region include the Shinfield Studios, set to be the largest studio space in the UK. This will create a key cluster “Cine Valley”, led by the University of Reading, and new opportunities for creative scaleups through the attraction of talent and skills as well as enhancing inward investment into the local area. Similarly, the Thames Valley AI hub at the University of Reading is a focal point for the region’s AI community. Clusters are critical to the scaleup ecosystem and TVB is currently looking at ways to support emerging clusters through relationship management and facilitating collaboration and knowledge transfer. 

Thames Valley Berkshire’s scaleup support is currently in a transformational phase, moving from formalised programmes to a self-service model that can be tailored to the growth needs of individual scaleups. This is combined with one to one, intensive support for established high-growth businesses and signposting to further specialist scaleup support.

The LEP targets scaleups directly, using segmentation to identify scaleups and tailor support.

ONS data for 2020 shows that there are 655 scaleups in the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP: 245 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 555 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 145 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 -1.42 per 100,000 of population per year.


Thames Valley Berkshire strives to be a one stop shop for scaleups and support is delivered through its Berkshire Growth Hub using an account management system led by a team of specialist business advisers. This new model aims to increase the numbers supported and help ambitious scaleups in Berkshire to access the support they need to grow faster and create a better connected scaleup ecosystem.

TVB is developing a new High Growth programme, launching in January 2023, specifically targeted at scaleups and delivered on a rolling basis through five workshops focused on key scaleup challenges such as marketing, building leadership capacity and access to growth capital. One-to-one support will also be provided through specialist associates on areas not suited to a workshop format, covering topics including legal and HR issues.

Launched at the end of 2021, the LEP’s Business Capital Grants Fund is also specifically targeted at scaleups and businesses with scaling potential. Grants help scaleups capitalise on expansion opportunities and tackle barriers to growth in order to increase productivity, generate new employment or to help facilitate greener, cleaner growth. Grants must be match-funded by recipients.  

Further support is available through the LEP’s Funding Escalator which provides next stage finance through loans and equity and Berkshire Low Carbon Workspaces grants aimed at businesses looking to de-carbonise their workspaces. DIT’s Internationalisation Fund is available to scaling companies looking to expand into new international markets.

Business advisers will also refer scaleups on to a broad range of expertise from private sector and national providers including Innovate UK EDGE.

A range of additional public and private programmes operate in South East England – find out more on the scaleup support finder here.


Six scaleups received capital grants of between £5k and £50k through the Berkshire Business Capital Grant Fund. More than £210k has been awarded to date. 

To date, 95 businesses have been supported by the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator through £17.36m of debt finance, leveraging £47.91m of private investment. This has helped to create and safeguard 1,204 jobs.  


The LEP is looking to leverage private sector support with focus on market access. The geography of the LEP limits the effectiveness of peer-to-peer networks and this needs to happen across the wider region. 

The importance of collaboration has been recognised by Local Authorities across the Thames Valley Berkshire area, who have combined their focus to develop the new High Growth Programme of intensive tailored support for high growth or high growth potential businesses in order to leverage the learning from previous initiatives like ScaleUp Berkshire.


A new local innovation strategy is in development to support the scaleup ecosystem.  Following the development of the High Growth Programme further cross county growth support is being considered through the potential creation of a new ‘county deal’ bringing together the six local authority districts.

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 Thames Valley Berkshire LEP have a high 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: Excellent

The vertical axis of this matrix shows where local authorities located in this LEP stand compared to the rest of the UK: all of the 6 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and all of the 6 local authorities have an above 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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