Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2023

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Looking Forward

While there is ongoing turbulence caused by macroeconomic factors, scaleups across the UK are showing their resilience and are pushing forward with their growth plans. They are on the lookout for new opportunities to innovate and expand their core markets at home and overseas. However, they continue to face hurdles when it comes to accessing these markets. Challenges associated with finding the right talent and financing growth remain and as an ecosystem we must step up to support scaleups to overcome them.

Going forward we need to maintain existing levels of support and continue to evolve new solutions to the challenges faced. The message is clear, only by delivering this at a local level and reducing regional disparities will we create a resilient scaleup economy across the entire United Kingdom. 


Each year we ask scaleups to select their top priorities, in 2023 markets is once again their primary challenge, with 28% stating it is their biggest barrier and 64% placing it in their top 3. Talent is on par with markets as the top priority for 29% of scaleups and growth capital is number one for 17%, while 58% and 38% place them in their top 3s respectively. Looking more deeply at a sector level reveals how certain challenges dial up across parts of the economy with the markets challenge deepening for scaleups in professional services with 71% of scaleups stating it is in their top 3 priority. While for those in Construction (74%) and Manufacturing (70%), access to talent dials up as top 3 priority. Access to finance dials up for Manufacturing (46%) and Creatives (37%) and Consumer Trades (37%) are far more concerned about access to public procurement than their peers. 

As discussed earlier, despite these challenges 6 in 10 agree that they are out-performing their peers and 5 in 10 continue to think that it is realistic to expect 20%+ growth each year. Majority of scaleups are planning to invest in R&D as an encouraging sign towards innovation. But confidence is fragile – 6 in 10 are cautious about things generally in the business and are more concerned about whether the UK will be a good location for a business in a few years’ time.   

So while some signs are positive, we must do all we can to enhance support, revitalise confidence and champion success in order to build a successful UK scaleup ecosystem.