Britain on track to become a scale up nation despite Brexit

Four out of five scale up leaders expect their growth to continue despite the uncertainties created by Brexit, a new study reveals.

The UK is currently on track to become a scale up nation, according to the 2016 ScaleUp Review conducted by the ScaleUp Institute.

The 2016 survey of ScaleUp CEOs, published in full today, reflects that more than four out of five (83 per cent) scale up leaders expect their growth to continue despite the uncertainties created by Brexit.

It also found two out of three survey respondents are already exporters; Europe and North America remain the core markets of focus for those seeking international expansion, followed by Asia.

These developments are encouraging, however, leaders still cite key barriers to growth in relation to developing leadership capacity, access to corporate buyers at home and abroad and access to the right talent and skills for their scaling businesses.

What businesses consider important

Building leadership capacity when growing fast is vital, as 88 per cent of scale up CEOs agree that they would be able to grow their business faster if it were easier to develop the leadership talent at the firm.

Scale up leaders also place great importance on local support. More than seven out of ten say they would be able to grow faster if were easier to find effective mentoring and professional support schemes near them.

The survey also shows a growing desire to see local universities and business schools develop executive education programmes tailored for scale ups and their teams.

Nearly all (86 per cent) of scale up CEOs agreed that they would be able to grow their business faster if it were easier to attract larger corporates as customers in the UK.

Start ups need support

Access to talent and the right skill sets from schools and graduate leavers is important to companies. Most (82 per cent) scale up CEOs agree that they would be able to grow their business faster if graduates and school leavers had the skills needed to meet customer demand including business and general management alongside technical abilities.

One of the critical factors that can unlock private and public support is the ability to identify these businesses on a timely basis so that they can get the right level of local support at the right time.

The 2016 ScaleUp Review has 10 recommendations for action across the country, with the number one priority being the better use of data held nationally to identify our UK scale ups on a more timely basis.

Nine out of 10 (90 per cent) of scale up leaders want key HMRC data more readily shared – on an opt-in basis – across public and private sectors in order to attract essential support to continue their expansion.

Sherry Coutu, CBE, chair of the ScaleUp Institute and author of the 2014 ScaleUp Report is pleased to report that there is an increasing proportion of scale up companies per capita in most communities across a variety of sectors in the UK.

Coutu adds, ‘A key factor enabling us to drive down this regional disparity lies in using data held centrally by government to draw attention to the communities closing their scale up gaps, so their achievements can be celebrated, and so that the techniques they used to remove barriers that hinder their scale ups can be shared with leaders of communities suffering from a shrinking number of scale up companies.’

She concludes, ‘Working together we can continue the excellent progress made in the last 2 years to close the scale up gap identified in the 2014 ScaleUp Report. We look forward to collaborating with you. ‘

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