Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2023

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109 scaling businesses supported by Two Zero programme

26% average turnover growth by Two Zero participants

240 scaling businesses supported through Edge Hill’s High Growth Innovation Sprint

28-45%. increased profitability by Edge Hill’s High Growth Innovation Sprint


Lancashire County Council, led by the Growth Hub – Boost Business Lancashire – coordinates a centralised, thriving business support ecosystem. Economic development priorities are driven through robust sector plans and an overarching strategy to ensure Lancashire is a place for businesses to grow and scale through innovation, investment, internationalisation and skills.

To ensure reach and impact, the Hub undertakes research and explores insights to best position services according to key target groups. This ensures products are relatable and complement Lancashire’s suite of dynamic business support offers. Key clusters in the region include aerospace, advanced manufacturing, energy, digital, food and drink and family businesses.

Working closely with the Scaleup Institute and other key partners, the Hub designed and launched its designated Scaleup brand – ‘Two Zero’ – in 2019. Two Zero’s purpose is to help and inspire leaders of Lancashire companies to grow 20% year-on-year. A series of funded programmes run throughout the year that help ambitious Lancashire business leaders develop their scaleup mindset and put their business on the path to high growth, playing a part in growing the Lancashire economy. Alongside business growth programmes, the Hub brings scaleup leaders together through growth-focused events and has shared regular insights on topics important to local scaleups . It also works with regional and national organisations to help develop the scaleup business support ecosystem.

ONS data for 2021 shows that there are 595 scaleups in Lancashire: 230 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their employees, 480 are classified as scaleups due to rapid growth in their turnover and 115 are scaleups that are increasing both employment and turnover simultaneously.

The ONS data reflects that across the four-year period from 2018 to 2021 the density of scaleups has decreased by -2.74 per 100,000 of population per year.


Two Zero offers transformational support to scaling businesses delivered by expert scaleup advisers. Designed to stretch leaders’ thinking and give businesses a platform for growth, it blends one to one support with education and peer-to-peer learning. This year, it launched 3 programmes in addition to existing support to facilitate a thriving ecosystem:

  • The Scaleup Leaders Network, which builds on the established scaleup support model used in Two Zero’s highly successful Scaleup Resurgence programme, is a targeted programme that helps cohorts of 40-50 scaleup leaders per 12 month programme cycle to accelerate expansion through sustained growth coaching and peer-to-peer learning. Delivered by business growth consultancy Cube Thinking, the programme also includes scaleup masterclasses focusing on key growth drivers including strategy, accessing finance and ESG. Growth strategies are reviewed via quarterly performance clinics.
  • Women Scaling Up 2023, is a 12-month programme that equips female entrepreneurs with the tools, training, experiences, and knowledge to scale their business. Cohorts of 12 female leaders benefit from one-to-one coaching support, peer learning and residentials. The programme covers profiling, leadership coaching and goal setting as well as industry specific mentoring to help participants build robust strategies for growth. The programme of intensive support is followed by a year of bimonthly support sessions.
  • Your Sales Director is delivered in collaboration with award winning scaleup business, Sales Geek. It gives scaleups access to a sales director to support them to overhaul or refine their sales strategy, helping them to scale through revenue growth.

Boost Business Lancashire supports the local pipeline of growing and scaling businesses with the drive to achieve growth over 20% per annum. ‘Boost’ helps break down key barriers to scaling by supporting businesses to develop and build an effective senior management team, attract talent, and access new markets. Support is delivered through a blend of one-to-one coaching, peer learning, insights sharing and dedicated growth workshops. 

The Edge Hill University’s Productivity & Innovation Centre provides innovation support and advisory services to Lancashire and Liverpool City Region based early-stage and scaling businesses. Part of its support, the flagship three-month High Growth Innovation Sprint Programme which has been endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute in 2023, addresses challenges to growth and helps scaleups develop financially feasible solutions by focusing on product and service innovation. 

Lancashire Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing’s (AEM) Watchtower Programme supports Lancashire-based Advanced Engineering & Manufacturing companies to overcome economic impacts, innovate and scale. The programme offers tailored, coordinated business advice and support including finding new contracts nationally and internationally, accessing growth opportunities and identifying skills and knowledge gaps along with support to innovate and diversify and to engage with the right level of business support at the right phase.

Launched in 2017 by the British Business Bank, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) provides commercially focused finance through its microfinance, debt and equity finance funds which offer financing ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.

Made Smarter helps early-stage and scaling businesses in the manufacturing sector use technology to streamline their processes. It was borne out of a UK Government commissioned industry-led review exploring how UK manufacturing industries can prosper via integration of digital technology tools and innovation. The programme connects established and emerging UK technology innovators with the manufacturing community to overcome operational challenges and delivers tailored support at any stage of the businesses’ digital journey.

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


In total 109 scaling or early-stage businesses have been supported by Two Zero programmes with an average baseline turnover of £2.7m per annum and employing on average 23.8 employees.  Turnover on average rose by 26% to £3.4m and employment grew by 34% to 31.8 employees.

Boost has supported 437 high growth companies. Collectively, they have created 586 new jobs and their turnover increase from baseline has been £62.8m. The gross value added for participating companies totals £5.1m.

Edge Hill’s High Growth Innovation Sprint has supported 240 scaleups and created 517 new jobs  (directly and indirectly). It has also led to the creation of  113 new to firm products and services and 32 new to market products and services. On average, businesses who complete the Innovation Sprint growth programme and implement their action plan achieve an increase in profitability of 28-45%.

Watchtower has engaged 92 scaleups. Of these, 13 have received diversification support, 19 innovation support, and 40 supported with employment needs. It has placed 32 people in new employment.


The end of ERDF funded support has unfortunately removed several scaleup programmes from the market while replacement support services are still being developed in line with new requirements and funding available via UKSPF. The challenge now is to ensure organisations delivering support work in close collaboration to continue to meet the needs of scaleup businesses in the ecosystem. 

Research has revealed a gap in availability of finance for aspirational businesses. As a result, the Hub launched a new Lancashire Funding Hub Portal. Its aim is to help growing businesses access the funding they need to achieve their goals, while providing insightful information and guidance. This will be further supported through a range of investment readiness support and new and repurposed funding products aimed at addressing local market failures.


Moving forward, Lancashire’s new ‘Boost UKSPF’ offer is ready to go to market to continue support for the local ecosystem, building upon the learnings developed by the local team through their participation in the Driving Economic Growth course. This focuses on three defined areas, Start, Grow & Scale. The Growth Company, a long-term partner in the region, will deliver Grow & Scale. 

In addition, the Lancashire Funding Hub will continue to be developed and a new, dynamic Angel Investment service introduced.

Following on from the Driving Economic Growth course earlier this year, a long term strategy is currently being developed. Key stakeholders from infrastructure hubs, local universities and local and county government in the region will be brought together in order to deliver a powerful action plan for scaleups. 

Two Zero is currently undergoing a strategic review around purpose and positioning. This will provide a robust five-year plan to ensure Lancashire is equipped to further support scaleup activity.

The local area is also working to the Lancashire 2050 framework which is about bringing people together with a shared vision, shared ambition, shared goals, and shared priorities. This vision is supported by our sector and thematic economic growth plans.

The new Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II, a £660m investment fund which will be launched at the start of 2024. It will cover the entire North of England including Lancashire.

“Two Zero’s Scaleup Leaders Network has been a great opportunity to bounce ideas off other business leaders which is invaluable. The network enables us to share knowledge and experiences and I have formed some great working relationships with the other participants on the programme.” –Ian Coup, Director, Shout Connect

“We are looking at growth in Europe and being part of the Scaleup Leaders Network has helped to improve our knowledge of how best to do that. One of the masterclasses we attended had a session specifically on expansion through partnerships.” – Anthony Duckworth, Director, Dreamtex

“My personal ambition is to help build a team structure that can support the long-term future of Hive and not be afraid to diversify. We saw the Scaleup Leaders Network as a great way to challenge ourselves and understand our capacity to embrace change, which we hope will bring about improvements in everything we do. The programme has already given us plenty of food for thought and opened our eyes about how a business like ours should plan for the future. I’m a firm believer that you can never stop learning and should always find new ways to innovate. – Justin Cove – Director, Hive Land and Planning


According to ScaleUp Institute analysis of data received directly from ONS for years 2018-2021, the following picture emerges on the local environment.

Local Authorities located within Lancashire have a low density of scaleups, and the trend between 2018 and 2021 reveals the following:

Scaleups by Density: Moderate

The vertical axis of this matrix shows where local authorities located in this locality stand compared to the rest of the UK: 10 of the 14 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by employment growth and 7 of the 14 local authorities have an above median density of scaleups measured by turnover growth.

Scaleup Trends Over Time: Moderate

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: 8 of the 14 local authorities are above the median in terms of improving the density of scaleups by employment in their community and 7 of the 14 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.