Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2023

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Chair's Foreword

As I approach the end of my first year as Chair of the ScaleUp Institute, I want to recognise the tremendous contribution scaleup businesses continue to make to the UK economy in challenging times. 

The last few years have tested the resilience of our scaleups, with the effects of the pandemic, geopolitical dynamics and inflationary pressures  continuing to impact operations and confidence. 

This has had the effect of reducing  scaleup numbers overall, but thanks to the entrepreneurial, resilient and innovative spirit of scaleup businesses, many are getting bigger and continue to push forward. Their significance to the UK economy is still growing, now being 58 per cent of the UK’s overall SME output and their contribution to our science and technology advancements, including creative, finance, manufacturing, wholesale and green industries are significant. 

It is clear we cannot be complacent;  scaleup confidence is fragile, regional and diversity disparities continue, and the ScaleUp Institute’s mission more relevant than ever. We need to redouble our efforts as an ecosystem to remove the barriers to growth that our ambitious scaleups are facing. 

There are practical steps that we can take collectively to remove friction from the system. 

Having been involved with scaling businesses in many parts of the UK myself, I know the importance of having a strong local cluster and scaleup support network, with proactive engagement. Getting  access to the right Board, peer groups, mentors and investment options, underpinned by tax stability, is vital, along with receiving proactive help in connections to customers at home and abroad, including R and D  collaborations. Having a local ecosystem committed to helping you scale provides confidence, boosts productivity and, when done well, enables more seamless connections to opportunities. 

The ScaleUp Institute’s role, working with the ecosystem across the country, to help develop our local and national scaleup communities, breaking down barriers to growth, remains our key priority. 

I have witnessed the contribution the whole ecosystem continues to make in advancing these efforts  and the progress being made in various areas including, the Edinburgh and Mansion House reforms and Compact now underway; the Capital Markets Industry Taskforce; the work of Innovate UK,  British Business Bank and national development banks to evolve their  scaleup services; alongside the commitment local and international areas, working with us, are making to seek to put greater emphasis towards their local scaleups and fostering more.

Making sure the initiatives in hand reach every part of the UK and every UK scaleup, no matter location or background, will demand even greater collaboration, segmentation and focus. 

I want to give my thanks to the ScaleUp Institute’s Board, partners,   ambassadors and scaleup champions who have helped us progress so far on this journey and the Institute’s team for their tireless commitment to our mission.  

Our collective work is not yet done, with much more to come.

We must keep encouraging ambitious businesses to keep scaling and work even closer together to address the stubborn barriers to market, talent and funding access that persist, alongside ongoing regional and diversity challenges. 

As we look ahead to 2024 I am looking forward to meeting many of you on our  ScaleUp Britain regional tour, with the London Stock Exchange, WPP and our key partners. 

As 2024 unfolds, our high-performing scaleups will continue to play a vital role in the UK economy, and innovating to meet our national and global challenges. 

Let’s double down on our collective efforts to make the UK truly the best place to Start, Scale and Stay! 

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