Editor, The Entrepreneurs Network,
A decade ago, entrepreneurship became the national obsession as thousands of bold entrepreneurs struck out alone, built businesses and lifted the UK economy out of recession. Though the start-up revolution shows no sign of abating – with the number of companies founded reaching new highs in 2017 – the challenge now is ensuring new companies fulfil their potential, scale, and go global. Britain’s businesses need to scale up.
The UK is third in the world for new company formation, but our record on scale-ups is less impressive.
According to the OECD, the UK is third in the world for new company formation, but our record on scale-ups is less impressive. The most recent Scale-Up Institute report has revealed there are currently 31,440 scale-ups – defined as an enterprise with average annual growth in employees or turnover greater than 20 per cent per annum over a three-year period, and with more than 10 employees at the beginning of the period – in the UK. We can and must do better.
Access to talent, finance and management experience are brakes on scale-up development.
The ratio of companies making it through the start-up phase to establish themselves as sustainable and substantial businesses is an important one. High levels of productivity are twice as common among scale-ups, which average £235,000 per employee. Scale-ups are twice as likely as their peers to be trading internationally, and twice as likely to have innovated in the past three years. Close to three-quarters of scale-ups offer opportunities to young people through internships or apprenticeships. And almost half have at least one female director.
Access to talent, finance and management experience are brakes on scale-up development. Longer-term government policy is important, but here and now there are businesses struggling with those issues and looking for support. For this, there is an increasing role for large business, the media, financiers, academia and our flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem to provide support to those at an earlier stage on the journey.
The Entrepreneurs Network is an increasingly important part of the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through the media, research and the APPG for Entrepreneurship, we have an impact on public and political debates and influence government policy. But we also run a number of programmes designed to help entrepreneurs start, run and scale their business.
Setting your company on the path to growth is always a challenge. That’s why next month we will be holding an all-day event at the International Business Festival with high-profile entrepreneurs. Hosted every two years in Liverpool, the festival gives businesses the space, support and expertise they need to make connections, do deals and realise their potential
The UK’s economic recovery was built on the success of start-ups, but our future prosperity relies upon turning those start-ups into scale-ups.
Our one-day event will comprise of five panels with leading scaleup entrepreneurs, covering the key challenges of scaling in an uncertain world; the power of tech; scaling with social purpose; going global and the next generation of talent.
The UK’s economic recovery was built on the success of start-ups, but our future prosperity relies upon turning those start-ups into scale-ups. Scale Up Britain will be an opportunity to be inspired and learn from the best in business – giving entrepreneurs the first step towards ensuring they are able to fulfill their ambitions.
Hear more on this from Will Butler-Adams, CEO, Brompton Bicycles; Celia Francis, CEO, Rated People; Giles Andrews OBE, Founder, Zopa; Kresse Wesling, environmental entrepreneur & Co-founder, Elvis & Kresse; Jeff Lynn, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Seedrs; Cameron Stevens, Founder, Prodigy Finance, Chris Baker-Brian, Co-founder & CTO, BBOXX; Simon Coley, Co-founder, Karma Cola; Lauren Armes, Founder, Welltodo; Chieu Cao, Co-founder, Perkbox; David Taylor, Managing Director, World First Group