What are the five scale-up gaps and how do we address them?

In its report The Scaleup Review on Economic Growth, The Scaleup Institute outlined five areas, or “gaps,” that need to be addressed for scale-up businesses to thrive. They are focused on talent and skills, leadership, markets, finance and infrastructure.

  • The talent and skills gap: a lack of potential employees with the relevant or level of skills required for scale-up businesses.
  • The leadership capacity gap: A lack of potential employees with the ability to lead scale-up businesses.
  • The markets gap: Barriers to scale-up businesses accessing markets either at home or internationally.
  • The finance gap: Barriers to scale-up businesses accessing finance for growth.
  • The infrastructure gap: Barriers to scale-up businesses accessing facilities and equipment.

The report suggested that these issues vary in their balance depending on geographic region and that they should be addressed by our local communities based on the particular areas of interest within those communities. It did, however, outline ten recommendations for addressing the issues.

  1. Recognise ‘scale-up’ as a formal business classification and use national datasets to verify the scale-up status of businesses, with a view to driving economic growth more easily
  2. Deliver government-provided local funding for businesses whose strategies successfully address closing the scale-up gaps
  3. Make a government minister accountable for, and aspects of local government and local stakeholders responsible for, addressing the scale-up gaps
  4. Have the Department for Education and Local Enterprise Partnerships ensure that students at schools, colleges and universities come into contact with the top 50 scaleup business-leaders within 20 miles of their establishment and make and API available for measuring the impact
  5. Make a ‘Scaleup Visa’ available in communities where there are 100 or more scale-up business to help scale-ups recruit and grow
  6. Prioritise and signpost high-quality mentorship programmes locally
  7. Have public bodies report on the extent to which they procure from and collaborate with scale-up businesses, tying funding to these measures
  8. Have large companies report on the extent to which they procure from and collaborate with scale-up businesses, requiring certain amount of businesses to be undertaken with scale-ups before any government procurement contracts can be awarded
  9. Introduce fast-track procedures for dealing with scale-up businesses at agencies that interact with them regularly
  10. Have government and industry work to close the finance gap for scale-up businesses and ensure that growth finance is included as core curriculum in all local courses for scale-up leadership

As the report pointed out, some of the recommendations “are directed towards stakeholders at a national level and others are directed towards those operating at a local or regional level.” The latter can include organisations like the 38 growth hubs around the country and we’ve certainly worked to help achieve some of the recommendations.

We have, of course, adopted the term “scale-up” and begun producing content about scale-up businesses. More importantly, though, we’ve begun reporting on scale-up businesses and expect to see more funding dedicated to scale-ups introduced. With scale-up businesses so important for both the local and national economies, it’s important that we look to deliver support for them to thrive wherever possible.

If you are a Scale-up business in the Liverpool City Region contact your Local Growth Hub broker to find out the support available for your business