Scale-ups want better access to growth finance
SCALE-UPS with a desire to innovate want better access to growth finance, as well as research and development funding, a study has found.
The Scale Up Institute’s annual report, released on Tuesday, suggested scale-ups are twice as likely to innovate as their peers but need finance and infrastructure to support their ambitions.
It said specific actions are required to remove local disparities and unlock further institutional investment.
In order to achieve this, the Scale Up Institute intends to work with the British Business Bank and other partners next year to launch an educational tool. It will also monitor outcomes from the Treasury’s recent “Financing Growth in Innovative Firms” consultation.
“Varieties of risk capital are key for scaling businesses and we must ensure the UK improves the reach and depth of these offerings,” the institute said.
One recommendation of the report is for growth finance to be included as a core curriculum in all local scale-up leadership courses.
The research also highlights the role scale-ups play in boosting the economy, generating approximately £235,000 in turnover per employee and a combined turnover of around £900bn.
But the Scale Up Institute said that while the UK is creating a more dynamic environment in which scale-ups can flourish, the job is far from done.
“Scale-ups are essential to a vibrant UK economy but we need to continue to step up our game if we are to surpass our international competitors and significantly climb up to the top in OECD ranking,” it said.
Other recommendations include the official recognition of a “scale-up status”, introducing a “scale-up visa”, signposting mentorship and matchmaking programmes, and a review of procurement procedures.
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A survey for the report found most scale-ups expect to grow again in the coming year, with 77 per cent anticipating at least 20 per cent turnover growth.
David Galsworthy, chief executive and co-founder of workspace provider Techspace, suggested one of the core elements of scaling successfully is to collaborate with local communities.
He said co-working spaces and support networks enable scale-ups to interact and bounce ideas off each other.
“Whilst we have seen a remarkable switch in attitude and support towards entrepreneurs in the UK, it is crucial that the UK government and the wider business community nurtures businesses that are beginning to scale and provides them with the tools, co-working spaces, communities and support they need to succeed,” he added.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest the number of scale-ups rose from 26,985 in 2013 to 31,440 in 2015.