Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2023

Select a section to expand and explore this year's review..



Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


leaders supported since 2017


of the businesses helped were scaleups and early-stage scaling businesses


average annual employment growth rate after receiving HorizonMethod support


of the leaders helped reported valuable, positive difference to leadership performance


raised by 78 participants since 2021.

Key sectors

Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services Technology & Communications

The HorizonMethod is designed to drive scaleup growth and is foundational to all of the Horizon37 programmes. The evidence-based Method has been informed, enhanced and shaped by research undertaken by Horizon37 alongside a range of academic partners including Cambridge Judge Business School and Cranfield School of Management.  It aims to guide and support scaling leaders, their executive teams, boards and investors to transform leadership for better scaleup outcomes, commercialise innovations, build value and achieve successful business exits. 

The HorizonMethod is deliberately fast-paced for the benefit of time-poor leaders, and forms the basis of a range of programmes delivered by Horizon37 which vary in duration and cost depending upon the complexity of challenges faced. Taking a whole team approach and building in outcomes from the outset, the Method enables scaling business leaders to focus on their key challenges and foster collaboration to create a culture for growth within the company. 

A key objective of the HorizonMethod is to get teams pulling in the same direction, equipped with the right leadership tools to help them achieve ambitious scaleup goals and deliver commercial success. To achieve this, it uses bespoke evidence-based tools including its Leadership Readiness Check, Leadership LaunchPad™; that helps scaling leaders learn about and develop their personal leadership style, and the Hey360™ customised leadership assessment designed to capture actionable, anonymised feedback. 

HorizonMethod uses expert leadership partners to support leaders and create scaleups that are more resilient, more agile and more adaptable to market changes, making them an attractive proposition to investors. It is primarily focused on scaling businesses operating in a number of key innovation sectors. These include environment, energy, health and medical, fintech, deep tech, and space, as well as working closely with venture capitalists and their portfolio companies.

To date over 600 leaders from nearly 300 scaleups have been supported by Horizon37, achieving an average annual employment growth rate of 42.4% following on from their participation in a programme. These businesses report increased confidence in their leadership performance and objective setting and achievement; while 78 participants have raised over £300m.

“The management team as a whole is more focused and efficient. The big value is in the general mindset of consciously and consistently behaving as a leader. Being guided through it and being made to think about and articulate some of the key principles has been very useful. I believe others perceive me more as a leader.”
– Jan Jezek, Founder – Arecor

“In particular, the Hey360 assessment was an incredibly positive experience. Together, we identified a clear path, utilising strengths, to empower, develop and challenge personal brand and to become a better leader.”
Nick Hounsfield, CEO – The Wave

“Everything we worked on in coaching was geared towards improving our business performance. Using Horizon37 tools it was possible to pinpoint the areas of leadership that could make the biggest positive difference, which is where we focussed. We are now creating a business full of leaders. We are prioritising time and energy in line with the business goals. The board has more confidence in the exec leadership. Our work on culture has cascaded, and is leading to more empowerment, more listening, and easier feedback conversations throughout the business. The most valuable outcome from coaching is being equipped to lead all our people to drive our scaleup.”
Tom Mason, CEO – Bramble Energy



Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


scaling and pipeline businesses supported


annual average growth in turnover


average annual increase in profitability


Public ROI


of businesses have improved their innovation and growth management

The High Growth Innovation Sprint programme is a fully funded three-month programme designed to support scaling companies to overcome scaleup barriers. It is the ‘flagship’ offering from Edge Hill University’s SME Productivity & Innovation Centre (PIC) which was set up in 2017 to deliver a complement of research-informed, impact driven programmes that unlock the growth potential of early-stage and scaling businesses based in the Lancashire and Liverpool City region. The PIC is focused on locally defined priority sectors and provides a strategic gateway to the University for pipeline potential scaleups, facilitating access to expertise and engagement with students and academics. 

The High Growth Innovation Sprint programme supports scaleup potential businesses to enhance their strategic growth plans with specific focus on building leadership and workforce capacity. It further supports the development of market penetration plans and workforce strategies.

Its dedicated support includes scaleup strategy development, intensive online workshops, one to one support with academics and business experts and world-class rapid innovation tools and frameworks. Developing a scaleup strategy for increasing access to domestic or international markets is at the heart of what the High Growth Innovation Sprint Programme offers. Utilising market research and rich data collection to aid decision-making, the programme tailors its support to each business’ growth strategy amongst Market penetration, Market development, or Product and/or service development.

Furthermore, the programme provides follow-on opportunities to collaborate with the University, students, and PIC’s SME network and access to a range of follow-on finance and funding opportunities. For those looking to obtain financial investment products, the PIC will refer them to specialist finance organisations in the region such as Rose Bud Finance in Lancashire and MSIF in Liverpool City Region, or directly to programmes within PIC’s private sector network such as Lloyds or Barclays.

Since 2017,  the Innovation Sprint Programme has supported 240 high growth potential businesses of which 235 have created 517 new jobs. On average, participating businesses achieve 29% average growth in turnover. 113 new to firm products and services, and 32 new to market products and services have been developed, while 88% of participating businesses have seen noticeable improvement in their resource allocation; 83% have invested some capital into process improvements; 88% have improved their innovation and growth management and 93% have seen noticeable improvement in their approach to market penetration. The programme’s latest independent evaluation, published March 2023, found participants typically achieve between 25% to 48% profitability improvements and a return on public investment of £1 : £13.90.

Additional scaleup support for participants is available through PIC’s other active programmes like the Skills for Growth programme providing access to students and graduates; the Leadership for Growth programmes offering professional body leadership and management training; and the Innovation Adoption Accelerator available for those looking for technology investment. 

Scaleup leaders consistently state that they want access to local expertise from universities and business schools, including access to academic and graduate talent. The ScaleUp Institute is pleased to endorse the activities of Edge Hill University’s High Growth Innovation Sprint programme in 2023’s Annual Review as an exemplar of this type of support and the role universities across the country can play as anchor institutions in the scaleup ecosystem.


British Library: Get Ready for Business Growth

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


scaleups supported


of the participants were female and 14% from an ethnic minority background


new products, processes or services developed


graduate mentors trained

Key sectors

Creative, digital, film, games & media

Launched in 2022, the British Library’s Get Ready for Business Growth builds on the success and legacy of the SUI endorsed Innovating for Growth (I4G) programme – the British Library’s flagship scale-up offering. 

As a direct continuation of the I4G programme with a much larger national reach, the three-month programme offers tailored scaleup support for businesses in the arts and culture sector across England and Scotland. It is funded by Arts Council England and has been designed and delivered by the British Library Business & Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC) and a number of private sector partners. The programme has tapped into the British Library’s BIPC National Network, consisting of 22 Business & IP Centres across the UK and a further 86 satellite services delivered through town libraries. 

Get Ready for Business Growth has adopted I4G’s course structure and leverages its existing network of delivery partners along with two key learnings: the importance of assigned Relationship Managers and an emphasis on the British Library’s collections and customised business research. The overall programme consists of three streams; Get Ready for Business Growth: Scale-ups, Get Ready for Business Growth: Mentoring and Get Ready for Business Growth: Start-ups and is delivered completely virtually.

The programme, which is delivered to cohorts of c. 25 creative business leaders, consists of 8 workshops and 8 one to one bespoke sessions totalling 32 hours of support. The one to one sessions cover support in strategy development, fundraisings, testing and launching new products, protecting their IP, research competitors and many more. Each participant is paired with a Relationship Manager who oversees their engagement, acts as a counsellor and refers them to relevant services support. Additionally, they receive a personalised research report drawing on the Library’s world-leading collections and are trained in the use of the BIPC’s extensive market research resources.

Get Ready for Business Growth graduates benefit from access to the ‘Growth Club’, an existing community of over 700 leaders, first established as part of I4G; and ongoing engagement with their relationship manager enables their progress to be tracked and the measurement of business outcomes, while also providing ongoing support. 

In its first year, the programme reported positive impact outperforming I4G’s first year in terms of number of scaleup businesses supported, jobs created and new products, processes and services generated, as well as the number of mentors trained. So far, the ‘Get Ready for Business Growth: Scale-ups’ stream has helped 98 creative scaling businesses, with so far 23% of them creating 56 new jobs. As a result of the programme’s learnings, participants have created and implemented 68 new products, processes and services in the first three quarters. 40 graduate mentors were trained with accreditation from the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) and all participants have been signposted to continuing accelerators and business hubs as part of offboarding from the programme.

“I feel very bittersweet about graduating because it’s been such a transformative experience for our business. Running your own business can be a lonely place, but this programme provided us with the opportunity to meet like-minded people and receive invaluable feedback from experts in their respective fields. We feel more determined than ever to grow and reach new heights thanks to Get Ready for Business Growth.”
– Dana – Codex Anatomy

“We LOVED being a part of this course. It has been intense at times but we realised how much our mindset has changed in the past three months. I feel like our purpose and drive has come back. Things that felt overwhelming and complicated at the start of the programme like auditing our suppliers and measuring our marketing activities now feel achievable and we are really excited to input more that we have learnt into our strategy for 2023.”
– Bee and Amy – Aarven


Aston Programme for Small Business Growth

Impact for scaleups


scaling business


new jobs created in the last 12 months


increase in GVA after 1 year of support


average revenue increase


reported an improved ability to respond to new opportunities

Key sectors

Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services Technology & Communications

The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth uses the latest evidence and research to help scaleups identify and overcome barriers to growth. An intensive 20-week programme, it combines a blend of peer learning, one to one mentoring support and practical tools and exercise.

The programme equips cohorts of around 25 scaleup leaders with the skills, tools and confidence needed to maximise growth. Each is given high-quality, targeted management support and each participant creates a growth action plan. Support is delivered by academics and expert speakers and through shared experience and a series of expert led workshops tackle barriers to growth. 

Core themes covered include strategy and business models, opportunities and innovation and marketing strategies along with leadership, culture, operations and business processes. Participants gain further insights through shared experience with other scaleup leaders and from case studies. 

A dedicated workshop guides participating scaleups through finance options and participants are given the opportunity to pitch their growth strategy to external financial experts. The networking element of the Aston Programme creates valuable new connections for scaling companies and participants are invited to join the Aston Centre for Growth alumni network. 

Since the programme’s inception in 2015, 282 scaleups have completed the programme. Phase two evaluation data shows that 94% of participants reported an increase in revenue and as a direct result of the programme there will be  a £6.7 million increase in GVA after 1 year of support. By March 2024 participants have created more than 350 new jobs. 

The programme’s 2023 Impact Report showed that all respondents felt more confident in business planning and strategy, with 97% reporting that they are now more comfortable making business decisions and 93% feel more comfortable about taking risks. Additionally, they are now more equipped in delivering business growth, with 97% feeling they are now more able to use financial data to make decisions, and 93% reporting an improved ability to respond to new opportunities.

Following the cessation of ERDF funding, the programme has secured alternative funding through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund until September 2024 to continue its delivery. It will now be available to scaling companies in the Shropshire area and will be additionally offering a new element of Innovation Vouchers.

“I would recommend the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth to anyone who is serious about their business and looking to grow and to become more strategic. I know it is difficult but find the time to attend such a programme because it will only benefit you in the long run, and there is so much to learn and implement within your business. And the team at Aston are phenomenal.”
Avril Grant – Founder, A-vision for Empowerment CIC

“I cannot express how transformative the APFSBG has been for me and my business. With the guidance of experienced business experts, we meticulously mapped out our customer journey, resulting in a profound improvement in our customer relationships and overall success.

“This programme afforded me the precious time to reflect on our business processes, allowing us to operate with newfound efficiency and effectiveness. The finance module was a game-changer, demystifying the numbers and empowering me to make informed financial decisions.

“The APFSBG has been a catalyst for positive change, equipping me with the tools and insights needed for long-term success. I couldn’t be more grateful for this invaluable experience.”
Chris Blunt – CEO, BS Net Limited



Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


Scaling businesses supported in 2023


Downloads of the ScaleUp Radio podcast


Average increase in turnover 12 months after programme


Have accessed new markets


Have won new procurement contracts


Have gained new ESG complaint accreditations

Key sectors

Technology & Communications Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services

BizSmart gives scaling business owners the tools they need to navigate their growth journey, increasing profits and value while also making their businesses easier to manage. Its structured Scaleup system – Flight Academy – is tailored to business needs, focusing on the major challenges to scaling identified by the ScaleUp Institute.  

SmartBoards is its flagship service providing peer to peer communities involving groups of six participants from diverse backgrounds and non-competing sectors. It begins with four themed sessions that cover leadership and vision along with the principles of building for value, creating a laser focus through Smart90, 90-day planning cycles, to champion execution through a robust and consistent business ‘rhythm’. 

The 90-Day planning approach is a recurring thread through the monthly themed SmartBoard sessions in which a theme is introduced based on a module from the core ScaleUp Pillars. Members identify a challenge for the board and then each has a spotlight session from which they commit to actions. Once each quarter members share their 90-day plans with the group. Ahead of this, business leaders can attend separate planning workshops with their senior leadership teams supported by a software package that captures the plans, aligns team members to tasks and allows business owners to track progress. Learning is supplemented through an online platform offering over 30 modules and 80 supporting video tutorials.

In the past year, Bizsmart has supported 173 scaling business leaders, increasing their confidence, leadership capacity and ambition and has repositioned its monthly online ScaleUp Club to be by invitation only, creating a supportive forum for scaleup founders to meet, share, collaborate and learn with their peers. Participants report better connections with other businesses and peer networks, increased confidence, leadership capacity and ambition. 

Bizsmart is primarily supporting businesses based in Worcestershire but has recently developed a franchise model with expansion into Gloucestershire. Additionally Bizsmart is currently working with local accountants with the goal of offering its 90-day planning approach and Smart90 software to their client networks. This will increase the reach of the Bizsmart programmes and further develop accountants’ business advisory capacity. Its ScaleUp Radio podcast has now achieved 37,000 downloads and has featured interviews with 116 scaleup founders since December 2022.


Cranfield School of Management: Business Growth Programme

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


Business leaders participated since 1988


Average sales increase after completing BGP


Smaller high-growth firms participated in the R4S and R4NZG programmes

Key sectors

Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services Technology & Communications

More than 3,200 business leaders have participated in Cranfield’s Business Growth Programme (BGP) since its launch in 1988. The programme is aimed at ambitious owner-managed businesses with at least five employees and turnover exceeding £500k. Typical participants have been operating for at least three years and have a turnover between £0.5m and £30m with ambitions to scale and take their business to the next stage of development.

BGP combines the latest academic thinking with peer-to-peer learning and facilitates conversations around key topics. Participants leave the programme with a robust business growth plan which is presented to a panel of independent advisors for feedback and then reviewed against progress after 6 months.

BGP alumni report sales growth and profit growth of 30% post completion of the programme and include household names such as Cobra Beer, Thatchers Cider, Hotel Chocolat and Go Ape. Its impact is evidenced by entrepreneurs returning to the programme a second time to address new growth challenges.

Cranfield has collaborated with several local councils to provide full scholarships to its Ready for Scale programme for micro/small businesses. Developed in 2018/19 the programme delivers the BGP ethos to ambitious micro and small SMEs with growth ambitions.

In 2022, Cranfield also launched its Ready for Net Zero Growth programme, an 18-week online growth programme for businesses looking to integrate their Net Zero ambitions into their business growth plans. Subject matter experts from Cranfield’s School of Management and School of Energy & Sustainability deliver this programme which includes self-paced learning, online tutorials and one to one coaching along with the completion of a carbon audit and a business growth plan. To date, more than 200 SMEs have participated in the Ready for Scale and Ready for Net Zero Growth programmes.


Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


Scaling high-growth business leader participants


Participants combined revenue


employees by scaling businesses


are more confident managing growth


Use financial data more to make decisions


Introduced new business processes

Key sectors

Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services Technology & Communications

Since its launch in 2010, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK (10KSB UK) programme offers 100 hours of practical education and business support to leaders of high-growth small businesses and social enterprises across the country. 

Fully funded by the Goldman Sachs Foundation, the programme is designed to accelerate growth and includes a blend of business education, networking and mentoring and is delivered in partnership with Oxford University Saïd Business School and Aston University Centre for Growth. More than 2,200 entrepreneurs have completed the 10KSB UK 4-month programme since 2010. 

Three residential sessions offer students access to high quality applied business learning with further support available online. Students also have access to professional experts and one-to-one business coaching and advice along with networking and peer learning opportunities. 

Programme participants take away a customised Growth Plan to direct their business strategy and expansion. Alumni can access a range of support and resources including ongoing business coaching opportunities and a publicly available, digital resource hub for small business support. 

The 10,000 Small Businesses – Engines of Growth report released in 2022, demonstrated the impact of 10KSB UK over the past decade. The report highlighted that 10KSB UK graduates are significantly more likely to have grown over the last 12 months than comparable high-growth small businesses, both in terms of revenue and job creation.  26 per cent of alumni businesses noted annual turnover growth by more than 20%; and 47 per cent of alumni increased the number of people they employ since the start of the pandemic, compared with only 26 per cent of their high-growth peers. 94 per cent of participants feel more confident managing growth, 84 per cent now use financial data more to make informed decisions, 90 per cent Introduced new business processes and 97 per cent feel more effective as a business leader.

The 10,000 Women programme, focusing on female entrepreneurs in emerging markets provides business and management education, mentoring and networking opportunities to help scale businesses. The programme is informed by research showing that investing in education for women could close a range of gender gaps. A free to all, accessible online version of the course is available to women worldwide. To date, the programme has supported over 200,000 women entrepreneurs across more than 150 countries. Past participants can join a global alumni network with ongoing access to support and resources, including the opportunity to attend a week-long Fellowship programme offering business coaching and training to further support business growth.



Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


Average business growth after becoming a Helm member




Average revenue


Certified as B Corp


of businesses set sustainability goals

Key sectors

Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services Technology & Communications

A membership community of entrepreneurial founders and CEOs of high-growth businesses, Helm, has been supporting members to scale their businesses since 2003. It does this through a blend of peer learning, facilitated networking and access to subject matter experts and inspirational speakers.

Its hybrid model includes a digital platform alongside in person events to generate a collective experience, and offer knowledge and support to its Founder community. It has a three-strand approach to support – Business Growth, Better Growth and Personal Growth – that includes encouraging business for good and a focus on health, wealth and legacy.

Helm’s digital platform gives members access to crowdsourced advice, curated introductions and the option to join special interest groups including a group for scaleup leaders looking to pursue B-Corp status. In addition, scaleup leaders have access to a library of expert-led events. 

Its curated Forum groups meet ten times a year. Chaired by an experienced founder they involve 6 – 8 fellow founders and the group acts as a supportive non-exec board for members. Helm also offers members personalised connections designed to help them overcome specific scaling challenges. 

Helm currently has more than 400 members with an average revenue of £20m. When asked about the key benefits of membership, 57% scaleup leaders highlighted valuable introductions, as well as opportunities to form partnerships and find new customers; and 66% reflected on the opportunities for inspiration and personal growth. Other benefits included time-saving insights (55%) and access to practical operational expertise (42%) from their fellow members. Participating leaders achieved 80% business revenue growth since becoming a Helm member, and 26% reported that they have raised external finance; 17% completed or are completing acquisitions of other companies; 19% achieved B Corp status, and 55% have set sustainability goals.


Innovate UK Business Growth (previously Innovate UK EDGE)

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


scaleups supported since 2017


scaleups expanded into international markets in past 12 months


jobs created


average turnover increase


estimated ROI


raised by participating scaleups in grants and equity

Key sectors

Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services Technology & Communications

The Innovate UK Scale Up Programme is aimed at highly innovative, ambitious businesses companies already on their scaling journey and able to disrupt existing markets and establish an international markets strategy. It is available to those scaleups achieving, or with the potential to achieve, 50% compound annual growth rates and over. Informed by evidence and insights from the ScaleUp Institute, the programme has supported 222 scaleups since its inception in 2017.

The programme features a board of thirty-three ‘Scale Up Directors’ who provide a matrix of skills and connectivity across multiple domains including M&A, international markets, IP, supply chains, scale up leadership and talent management. Directors support scaleups through a structured onboarding process that identifies three key scaling challenges. Key challenges identified since the start of the programme centre on commercialisation and market access, access to growth capital, talent acquisition, alongside enhancing internal processes and product innovation. 

Directors facilitate access to wider support as required. This is delivered through one-to-one mentoring and draws on the expertise of Directors and bespoke workshops. A high level Strategic Advisory Board provides another layer of connectivity and access to resources and a structured peer to peer network offers shared experience. 

After this intensive phase of one-on-one support, scaleups transition to become part of the alumni community, receiving ongoing light touch support including key account management. They also participate in new initiatives such as masterclasses and exclusive events that help them establish stronger connections with the private sector. There are currently ninety companies that have joined or are in the process of joining the scaleup alumni community.

In May 2023, a new innovative pilot offer was introduced designed to help Scale Up Programme alumni members secure the right NEDs and Chairs, enhancing board structure, reinforcing corporate governance practices, and bringing new perspectives to scaling companies. 

Leveraging the wider support available from Innovate UK, participating scaleups are also connected with a range of other initiatives including Knowledge Transfer Networks, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and Catapults. Around twelve scaleups were selected to participate in Global Business Innovation Programmes and Global Investment Programmes, benefiting from international visits designed to foster relationships and explore collaboration prospects. Eight of these scaleups were identified as the most promising scaleups and attracted interest from more than one hundred partners who are keen to collaborate with them. Innovate UK EDGE was also pivotal in supporting scaling companies involved in the European Innovation Council Accelerator. Scaleups were invited to pitch to the European panel, supported by Scaleup Directors. Eight scaleups secured a total of £20 million in grant funding. Additionally, in the last 12 months, the programme introduced more than 30 VCs to cohort scaleups to support them around their equity funding rounds. 

Over its lifetime the programme has created more than 1,400 jobs and participating scaleups have raised £561m in grants and equity and had a total turnover increase of £326m. GVA has increased by £74.8m and 62 scaleups were supported to expand into international markets. The programme is ambitious to expand the Scale Up Director team further and aims to reach thirty-nine directors over the coming year.

“During our time on the Innovate UK Scale Up Programme the turnover of the Company has almost doubled. It has been an eventful year for the board with many strategic options to evaluate. We found the independent sounding board support very helpful in navigating our way forward.”
– Phil Westcott – Director, Filament Consulting Group

“The Projective team has grown by over 50% during the Scale Up Programme. We were provided with support on foreign expansion, which saw us open a fully owned subsidiary in the USA and Italy which has helped us secure our export projects. The operations of the company now span across three countries and multiple currencies”
– Ray Welham – Managing Director, Projective Ltd

“During our time with the Scale Up Programme, we have enjoyed the support of a wide range of highly experienced and talented entrepreneurs and businesspeople. These Scale Up Directors have contributed insightfully to our investment activities, connected us with potential investors and sales prospects; as well as helped us with access to useful public support mechanisms. We are grateful to have participated on the programme and would recommend that maturing UK businesses seek out this opportunity to support their growth ambitions”
– Tom Grundy – CEO, Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd


Lazaridis ScaleUp Program

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


in new funding


Average Annualised Employee Growth Rate


Average annualised revenue growth rate


Of the participants accessed new markets


Of the Founders are from under-represented groups

Key sectors

Technology & Communications

Canada’s Lazaridis ScaleUp Programme is a 12-month programme of education, peer networking and mentorship. Based at Wilfrid Laurier University, it brings together the most promising scaleup tech companies from across Canada and connects them with a network of senior talent from successful firms. 

Customised engagement is designed to help them to scale and compete globally while remaining domiciled in Canada. Cohorts of the most promising companies are selected from a diverse range of sectors including AI, medtech, fintech, agritech, tech-enabled retailers and oil and gas. Support is extended to the wider executive teams of scaleups rather than focusing solely on founders; this includes access to function-oriented peer groups.

Lazaridis runs all-cohort events to further expand trusted peer networks with speakers drawn from globally successful companies. The ScaleUp programme has been delivered on a hybrid model since the pandemic, allowing to complement and enrich in-person events with the best of virtual learning practices. In 2023, the current cohort participants were brought to Palo Alto and New York, in both cities, scaleups took advantage of the visit to book time with customers, partners, and potential investors.

Since its launch in 2016, Lazaridis has supported 829 executives and 83 scaling companies that have raised more than CA$2.2bn in new funding and created 4,285 jobs. Now on its eighth cohort, the programme has a strong impact on scaleups. Scaleups show an average annualised growth rate of 53% in employment and 114% in revenues, while all participating scaleups reported increased confidence or leadership capacity. Additionally, 89 per cent of the participating scaleups have now  identified new markets, , 67 per cent have now started exporting, and 78 per cent have accessed new markets including Europe, Asia, Middle East, UAE and USA.

In October 2022, Lazaridis also hosted its first in-person all-cohort event since 2019. Supported by serial entrepreneur Marnie Walker, the event gave more than 50 scaleups the opportunity to share experiences and learn from Lazaridis mentors and industry luminaries. 

The programme’s commitment to diversity is a key priority with 46 percent of founders being from an under-represented group. Cleantech and greentech companies and social enterprises represent 20 percent of Lazaridis scaleups.

“One of the most valuable aspects of Lazaridis ScaleUp is the network that you create with your peers. Everyone is an absolute rock star!”
– Marnee Brick, President and Co-Founder, TinyEYE Therapy Services

“I find the opportunity to interact with our cohort colleagues to be the most valuable part of the Lazaridis program. I had good conversations with several peers and gained insights and ideas about what we can implement in our company.”
– Jesse Smith, VP of Product, Agency Analytics



MIT Venture Mentoring Service

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


Experienced mentors


Businesses ventures assisted


Participant entrepreneurs


In external finance raised by participants of VMS


Businesses launched


Organisations in 28 countries trained to launch their own version of VMW

Key sectors

Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services Technology & Communications

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Venture Mentoring Service (MIT VMS) uses a team mentoring approach to provide practical, day-to-day professional advice and coaching to students, alumni and staff, supporting them to turn enterprising ideas into scaling businesses.

A detailed picture of the scaling business is built at the outset of the programme, identifying critical action areas. Scaleup innovation and entrepreneurial activity is then supported through the MIT community. Experienced and prospective entrepreneurs are matched with skilled volunteer mentors selected for their experience and commitment.  

Further support is delivered through team mentoring sessions and one-to-one meetings. Entrepreneurs can also book half-hour practical advice sessions. These cover key business areas including legal, intellectual property, human resources and product development. Support is available throughout the scaling journey, from an initial venture idea to viable business. VMS support is aligned with other entrepreneurship programmes at the university.

Participants are also given the opportunity to showcase their businesses at the Entrepreneurial Edge Event each autumn – an annual networking reception hosted by VMS. VMS entrepreneurs seeking funding, get the opportunity each month to practise a four-minute elevator pitch in front of around 80 mentors at a monthly Snapshot Pitch Presentation and twenty qualified funding-ready VMS ventures are invited to make short pitches and host tabletop demonstrations to an audience of potential investors during the VMS Demo Day. 

The MIT VMS mentoring model methodology, concepts and practices are disseminated to other institutions through a series of training programmes under licence from MIT. In the last 17 years, the MIT VMS Model has been successfully replicated in organisations worldwide ranging from universities and economic development agencies to business incubators.

VMS also brings together mentor teams to help more advanced ventures with major changes and opportunities such as strategic partnerships, exits and mergers. In 2021, VMS relocated to the MIT Innovation HQ, an innovation and entrepreneurship hub that provides collaborative space for students..

“… MIT VMS, one of the institutions with the greatest specialty in mentoring, certifies the teachings and participates in the program. […] MIT has turned the art of mentoring into a science with guidelines and a methodology.”
– Pere Vicens, Mentor, Barcelona Activa

“There is no need to learn mentorship by trial and error. Embracing the VMS Model will save any institution a significant amount of time and money.”
Scott Fitzerald, Board Member, Silicon Couloir


Royal Academy of Engineering: Scale Up Accelerator

Leadership Capacity

Key sectors

Engineering / Advanced Engineering

Since 2013 the Royal Academy of Engineering has operated an Enterprise Hub to inspire business-minded engineers based in the UK to pursue entrepreneurial endeavours and to transform bright ideas into bold and disruptive businesses that have an impact on society.  To achieve this it draws on the expertise of the Academy’s 1,700 Fellows – some of the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business.

The Hub has evolved its programmes to support promising CEOs and founders of high-growth engineering companies to develop their skills and teams. The current SME Leaders programme includes one-to-one coaching to allow each participant to focus on their own personal development. Applicants must have raised at least £500,000 equity investment and/or have a turnover of at least £200,000 in the previous 12 months.  

Successful candidates receive a £10,000 grant to fund their choice of leadership training courses, six months of one-to-one coaching plus an experienced mentor.  They have access to masterclasses and workshops delivered by senior business leaders.  So far the Academy has supported 76 SME Leaders across seven cohorts and has just recruited a new group of 12 for the latest programme.

Participants can also use the Academy’s Taylor Centre as a drop-in workspace or location for meetings with their teams, clients, mentors and investors.  Before Covid-19 the Centre was the base for monthly meetings for current and alumni Hub members including peer-to-peer learning and meet the investor events.  These have now been moved online with extra webinars added until face-to-face meetings can be organised again.  

Feedback on the programme has been strong with 86% of SME Leaders reporting an improvement in their leadership skills, particularly in strategic thinking and corporate governance, and 96% reporting making changes to their businesses due to their participation.


Scale Up Scotland Leadership Programme

Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


scaleups and 69 leaders supported


new jobs created by the three first cohorts


Year on year turnover increase


Executive team members participate in the Scale Up Scotland 2.0


female participants and 11% from ethnic backgrounds

Key sectors

Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services Technology & Communications

Delivered by the Hunter Foundation, Scale Up Scotland targets ambitious entrepreneurs and companies with a turnover of £1m+, existing customer traction and a clear line of sight to significant profitability. Participants must demonstrate continual development both of themselves and their organisation throughout. 

This 18-month leadership programme offers a blend of experiential, business, and peer-to-peer learning to cohorts of ambitious Scottish entrepreneurs. It supports participants to fulfil their potential at pace, taking them through the critical components and complexity of business scaleup.

Subjects covered include leadership, finance, building the right team, communications, sales and marketing, globalisation, crisis management and governance. Strong peer-to-peer learning is embedded throughout and underpinned by an academic rigour. Content is co-created and delivered by business practitioners and entrepreneurs. 

Three cohorts – a total of 50 scaleups and 57 leaders – have completed the programme, and a fourth cohort of 12 leaders of 12 scaleups are currently being supported. New content for cohort four includes an equity maturity diagnostic workshop along with workshops on operations management, sales negotiation, communications skills and risk and incident management. Participants from the first three cohorts combined have created 2,594 new jobs and generated £460.18m in revenues since the programme started. In 2022, supported scaleups raised £75.47m in equity finance and are exporting across a range of international markets with the majority trading in Europe (42%), the USA (30%), followed by Australasia (28%) and Asia (16%).

In the last 12 months, the new bespoke programme Scale Up Scotland 2.0 was launched, aimed at businesses with revenues of £10m+ and with the potential to reach £100m+. Open to all sectors, it involves a diagnostic process with CEOs and executive team members followed by a series of retreats. These involve harnessing the expertise of global leaders, peer to peer learning and collaboration. Twelve CEOs and further fifty five executive members from twelve scaleups are currently going through the programme, while recruitment is underway for a second cohort which will begin in January 2024.

This year also saw the launch of Pre-scaler, a programme designed to fill a gap in provision for businesses at an early stage of their growth journey or that need to gain more traction to qualify for other programmes. Support is delivered through a series of events running from May to October 2023 and 38 entrepreneurs are currently participating. A Founder Conference – Scaling Up Scotland – will take place in November. 

   “..After 18 months on the Scale-up Scotland Cohort 3 I can testify how the support from the Scale Up Scotland team, and the network of my fellow CEOs of some great Scottish businesses, has helped raise the game at all of our companies. In the last 18 months Trojan’s has helped raise the game at all of our companies. In the last 18 months Trojan’s workforce has grown from 16 to over 60 and I am grateful for all I’ve learnt, and the lifelong friends made as part of the programme.”
Ian McKenzie, CEO, Trojan Energy

“We went into Scale Up in 2018 as a £2m business and by the end of 2.0 will almost have 10x growth.The connections, learning and peer group has absolutely been part of this growth. I love to see success in others and feel so proud when seeing the cohorts doing well and making big moves. It can be lonely and having people that really understand where you are is powerful.   There is also something else – the healthy competition that the programme breeds – which is dynamite.”
– Laura Davidson, CEO, Tag Digital



Leadership Capacity

Impact for scaleups


International community of members


Faster growth rate than non-participating SMEs


Future Leaders participating in Leadership Development Programmes


Annual events and webinars on key scaleup challenges

Key sectors

Technology & Communications Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services

Vistage has 60+ years’ experience running confidential peer advisory groups for scaleup leaders. This sits alongside one-to-one executive coaching sessions with accomplished business leaders. 

Vistage members meet once a month in select groups and focus on what makes the best leaders. Each group is steered by a Vistage Chair recruited for their business background, scaleup knowledge and experience. The Chair also acts as a personal mentor and coach, meeting each member monthly on a one-to-one basis.

Group meetings form a safe and non-competitive environment for business leaders to help each other solve challenges, evaluate opportunities and explore strategies, while outside speakers share new and innovative ideas. Vistage has a network of accredited expert speakers and thought leaders in the UK. 

Members report improved skills and confidence and marked improvements in business efficiency and growth. On average Vistage member companies grow 2.2 times faster than other small and medium sized businesses and they are ambitious expecting their profitability and employment to increase in the next year. However they still remain tentative on opportunities for AI adoption, with just 37% testing solutions. 

This year, Vistage has invested in its small business programme, recognising the unique challenges faced by this segment of the economy to build the pipeline of future scaleups.  This includes developing new resources specially tailored to meet the needs of smaller businesses. 

“It is not just the advice and support you get from solving or anticipating an issue that makes Vistage so special – it’s the moral support you get from your peers. You never feel alone.”
Mario Van Poppel, CEO, Leftover Currency

 “We’ve been able to draw on the group’s experience for help in scaling and  funding for growth.”
– Darina Garland, CEO, Ooni

“You get people with different businesses, operating on different scales but everyone has something useful and unique to share. I certainly don’t think I’d be here today doing the things I’m doing to this degree of success without Vistage’s help.”


Business Vitality (formerly INSPIRE ELITE)

Key sectors

Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services Technology & Communications

In the past year Inspire Elite – now known as Business Vitality – has supported 70 scaleup leaders to develop three to five year growth strategies. The programme offers peer-to-peer networking and Meet the Expert webinars, along with annual growth reviews and quarterly one-to-one guidance with carefully matched NED mentors.  

Now delivered in Bristol and the Heart of the South West, Business Vitality was originally launched by provider Inspire in Swindon and Wiltshire after directors attended the ScaleUp Institute’s first Driving Local Economic Growth through Scaleup Ecosystems course in 2016. Inspire had identified that local business leaders were still struggling to define their strategy in writing and that this could be an inhibiting factor for attracting funding. 

Subsequently to further expand upon the support available, Inspire launched its Knowledge Accelerator in 2021 combining two interactive workshops with one-to-one follow up support designed to support business leaders to create clear strategies for growth or for attracting investment.

In 2023, Inspire’s primary focus has been on operating at a deeper level with business leaders to uncover and unleash their leadership potential. It does this through one-to-one meetings and online and face to face peer events. Participating scaling businesses can also access a NED mentoring programme – Inspired Board – and an initial cohort of 19 have now extended their placements for a second year. New placements have more than doubled Inspired Board programme reach to 54 scaling businesses. Participating scaleups report greater resilience and a more strategic approach.  

More than 70 per cent (71%) of the participants have increased turnover and are working to a strategic plan that includes developing their leadership knowledge and skills. Over half of last year’s participants are using the Inspired Board service which is set to grow in size over the next year.

2023 sees Inspire launch its Business Transformation proposition to support highly ambitious businesses to scale faster by combining expert business support and an Inspire Account Manager to project manage the transformation.  Support is focused on the following five key strands: Becoming investment ready, including strategy development, pitch training and introductions to investors; Building a management team for rapid scaling, entailing leadership coaching on building teams effectively, skills development and recruitment; Reviewing markets and advising on ways to reach more customers, by building marketing and brand strategy; and Becoming an employer of choice and building a performance culture coupled with high standards of care for employees. The first two strands of this new project are already underway, offered to Goldman Sachs 10KSB UK alumni participants.


Entrepreneurs’ Forum: Scale-up Leaders’ Academy

Leadership Capacity

Key sectors

Transport & Logistics Building & Construction Creative, digital, film, games & media Defence & security Engineering / Advanced Engineering Environmental Science & Technology Farming, fisheries & forestry Finance Food & drink Healthcare Impact ventures / Social Impact Life Sciences & Biotech Manufacturing / Advanced Manufacturing Professional services Technology & Communications

Scale-up Leaders’ Academy (SULA) is the Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s dedicated programme for North East-based scaling entrepreneurs. The Academy, which was set up after attending SUI’s Driving Local Economic Growth through Scaleup Ecosystems course, brings together ambitious business owners from across the North East in six month cohorts to inspire, challenge, support and connect with each other. Since inception, 59 scaling businesses have been supported through the programme with 41% being female led.

The programme comprises a mix of peer group coached learning sessions using Verne Harnish’s Scale Up methodology alongside a wider programme of learning for the leaders within the peer group and their senior leadership teams. Themes covered include developing a high growth mindset, people, strategy and execution. Leaders are supported to develop a one-page strategic plan.

In addition, participants are paired with an experienced entrepreneur through the Entrepreneurs’ Forum peer to peer mentoring programme and are invited to attend the annual entrepreneurial conference, Fortune Favours the Brave. Participants become members of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s Scale-up Leaders’ Academy, which gives them access to around 60 inspirational events per annum alongside support and mentoring from the Forum’s network of over 330 north east based entrepreneurs. 

The programme now also offers four workshops open to scaleup leaders participating and their senior leadership teams. These sessions cover teamwork effectiveness, core values, sales, and strategic planning. Workshop take up by the senior teams has been strong with an average of three senior executive members attending alongside the scaleup leader.