Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

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29% Average increase in turnover 12 months after the BizSmart programme

72.2% of Bizsmart participants have accessed new markets

28% of Bizsmart participants have won new procurement contracts - average contract value of £229k

22% of Bizsmart participants have gained new ESG complaint accreditations

9 out of 10 BetaDen participants have or planning to improve products and sevices

8 in 10 BetaDen participants have invested R&D

1:£3.1 Return on Investment on the BetaDen Accelerator


Worcestershire’s dynamic is that of rural-urban living and the pandemic highlighted the fact that productivity is not dependent on an urban location but can be driven remotely. Leveraging digital connectivity and digitalised products is now a key driver of growth and opportunity for the region’s scaleups. 

The local Plan for Growth outlines three cornerstone sectors for the local economy (Business administration & professional services, Construction, Health and Care) and three opportunity sectors with significant potential for high-value growth – Advanced Manufacturing; Cyber security, IT and defence; and Horti/agricultural technology. 

Emerging clusters are geographically focused and driven by communality of challenge. Early stage groups include the Malvern Technology Network. The region is well connected, with 10 universities easily accessible, it is home to the eighth largest Chamber of Commerce in the UK and has a significant population of mature entrepreneurs however there is more scope to exploit these links and leverage the experience of the ecosystem. 

Scaleups cite challenges in accelerating commercialisation of products and services and navigating investment options and many scaleups report that collaborative opportunities with universities and other partners can be difficult through prohibitive IP terms.

The Worcestershire Innovation Board drives engagement with high-growth businesses. This includes a suite of regional programmes to foster growth across Worcestershire scaleups from strong local peer-to-peer networks to BetaDen, a dedicated technology accelerator.  

ONS data for 2020 shows that there are 310 scaleups in the Worcestershire LEP: 105 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 265 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 60 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 -1.13 per 100,000 of population per year.


Endorsed in 2021 by SUI, BizSmart helps scaling business owners navigate their growth journey by sharing the tools they need to increase profits and value while also making businesses easier to manage. Flight Academy – its structured scaleup system – is tailored to business needs and focuses on the major challenges to scaling identified by the ScaleUp Institute. Peer groups are delivered around a recurring 90-day planning cycle and themed quarterly sessions and participants also have access to an online platform offering supplement learning through over 30 modules with 80 supporting video tutorials.

The Elevate growth programme supports local scaling businesses through one-to-one and peer sessions. The one-to-ones with a growth advisor give business leaders focused support in developing their growth strategy. Specialist advisory sessions are also provided to help scaling businesses meet specific challenges including HR, Marketing and finance. Businesses also participate in peer sessions including leadership and vision, creating cohesive teams and building for value. Elevate also offers targeted programmes for key sectors of the local economy including Creative Tech businesses and Manufacturing with a focus on supply chain improvement, and Digital Technology and Automated Manufacturing. 

BetaDen is Worcestershire’s technology accelerator offering potential high-growth businesses a 9-month package of support including free office space, mentoring, funding and access to a local network of business leaders. Established in 2018, BetaDen is co-located with one the UK’s first 5G testbeds at the Malvern Hills Science Park, giving businesses onsite a platform to develop next-generation technology. Five cohorts have completed the programme to date with a sixth launched in  September 2022. Launched in April 2022, its new BetaDen Cleantech BootCamp,  helps early-stage and scaling businesses scale their cleantech solutions to new markets and customers. This 11-week support package includes specialist guidance, networking introductions and access to funding. 

Alongside these core programmes Worcestershire offers an ongoing series of tech talks aimed at building the technology ecosystem, evolving new opportunities and increasing digital adoption. 

There are also a range of public and private programmes in the West Midlands – find out more on the scaleup support finder here.


In the last six years, BizSmart has worked with 590 scaling business owners.  All those participating in 2022 report increased confidence or leadership capacity along with increased ambition. The vast majority (94%) also report better connections with other businesses and peer networks. A third of participating businesses raised finance and 78% of participating businesses identified new markets for their products and services, with 72% accessing these new markets. 

37 early-stage and scaling businesses have been supported through 5 cohorts of the BetaDen programme with a further 6 in the current cohort. 9 out of 10 BetaDen participants have already or are planning to improve their products and services. 8 in 10 have invested time and resources in R&D. 


Access to finance for scaling companies along with support aimed at accelerating commercialisation will be key focus areas for Worcestershire. Angel investment is a priority and the LEP aims to build up the local Angel network. It is also exploring new support models aligned to the net zero agenda.  Additionally, targeted support to help the local scaleup ecosystem address macroeconomic challenges and supply chain issues will be a priority in future developments.


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 Worcestershire LEP have a moderate 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 almost all showed an above median increase in scaleup density.

Scaleups by Density: Mixed

The vertical axis of this matrix shows where local authorities located in this LEP stand compared to the rest of the UK: 3 of the 6 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 5 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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