Where should scale-up businesses look for funding, support and advice?
Since 2014, there has been a concerted effort in the UK to drive the development of scale-up businesses, because they are more economically productive than the average and they provide employment across a range of job levels and roles.
And it’s worked. From 2014 to 2015 alone, the number of scale-ups country rose from 26,985 to 31,440 in 2015, doubling the target set in 2014. The recent Scaleup Review 2017 revealed that there are now 550 scale-up businesses in the Liverpool City Region alone, with a total turnover of around £5.3bn.
This success hasn’t come from just blindly throwing money at scale-up businesses or from one, blinkered approach, though. It’s the result of a variety of types of support being made available from a range of sources. If your business is a scale-up, this is important, because it means there is likely support available for you in one form or other.
First thing’s first, how do you know if you’re a scale-up? There are some differing thoughts on this, but a widely a widely accepted definition was used in the November 2014 Scale-Up Report on UK Economic Growth, which very much acted as the starting pistol in the race to provide scale-up support:
“Scale-ups are enterprises with average annualised growth in employees (or in turnover) greater than 20 per cent a year over a three-year period, and with 10 or more employees at the beginning of the observation period.”
If your company fits that description, there’s a wealth of support you can lean on, from funding help to advice and guidance to informal insights websites and blogs. Here’s where to find it:
- The ScaleUp Institute is a private sector, not-for-profit company focused on making the UK the best place in the world to scale up a business. it aims to advance understanding of how to scale up a business and how to build the most effective environment in which scale-ups can flourish, working with policy makers to identify opportunities that will support scale-ups.
- Growth Hubs, like us at the Liverpool City Region’s Local Growth Hub, are local public/private sector partnerships led by the UK’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). They are aimed joining up national and local business support, so that scale-up businesses can easily find the help they need, such as commercial funding, funded programmes, advice and events.
- ScaleUpGroup offers a range of services aimed at enabling entrepreneurs to manage fast global expansion, such as talent management, sales expansion, financial management and funding. Its company is made up of successful founders and executives offers and its services delivered via specialist partners, such as search firms, lawyers, accountants and financial institutions.
- The British Business Bank is a publicly funded institute that aims to make finance markets work better for small businesses in the UK at all stages of their development, including starting up, scaling up and staying ahead. It seeks to increase the amount and variety of funding available, build confidence in the market and taxpayer resources efficiently within a robust risk management framework.
- BGF is the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses. It is an established and independent company, with £2.5bn to support a range of growing companies – early stage, growth stage and quoted – across every region and sector of the economy.
- Start Up Donut is aimed at helping businesses to succeed by providing reliable information and resources that can save business owners time and money. Although primarily aimed at start-up businesses, it has a section of articles dedicated to helping businesses learn what it takes to scale up.