A scheme created six years ago to break down barriers faced by businesses looking to grow has already helped almost 400 companies to scale up and fulfil their ambitions.
Businesses from Norfolk and Suffolk have testified to the benefits of Scale Up New Anglia, a high-performing, fully funded programme of support for business owners and leaders with plans to grow.
Delivered by the team at New Anglia Growth Hub, which is run on behalf of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Scale Up New Anglia programme forms part of the business support provided by the LEP and Chamber of Commerce.
Since 2018, it has supported 390 businesses and helped them lever in £20 million of grants and private sector investment. Participants have seen an average increase in profit of 16.3% and an average growth in turnover of 22.5%. The extent of the role the programme has played in enabling business growth and boosting the local economy was highlighted this week in a report to the LEP board.
Scale Up New Anglia supports firms that are able to grow but face one or more barriers to their growth.
Silver to Gold is a guided and highly interactive course which works through the core areas of business management to produce a roadmap for growth. Led by successful business coach Tom Yeung, cohorts work with other like-minded CEOs and business owners who understand the challenges they face.
Mastermind is a peer-to-peer learning course which encourages participants to share success stories and discuss challenges and issues that may be holding them back.
To add value to local provision, the Chamber of Commerce-managed Growth Hub also works closely with a range of high quality national and international providers, notably Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Barclays Eagle Labs, Stock Exchange Elite, Innovate UK, and UEA’s Help to Grow.
SMEs taking part in these schemes are provided with a range of wraparound support including access to finance, Angel/Venture Capital, and grant schemes such as the Growth Through Innovation Fund.
Earlier this year, a High Growth Network was added to the offer which provides micro-businesses looking to scale up in the future with 12 hours of support and mentoring over three months. Participants who successfully complete the programme receive a Suffolk Chamber qualification, accredited by the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs, in High Growth Business Leadership and Strategy.
Robert Breakwell, Managing Director of Bruha Brewing in Quidenham, Norfolk, is full of praise for the scheme: “Amongst all the advice you can try and find when growing a new and exciting business, it is pretty rare to find the kind of precision support we have experienced through our participation.
“The course is expertly run with precise subjects that easily get to the heart of how to grow your business. The support around the course is outstanding.”
Esther Cornell, Managing Director of Haverhill-based Cambridge Rapid, said: “New Anglia Growth Hub supported Cambridge Rapid following our move to Suffolk. They have given us considerable support through the Peer-to-Peer programme and Mastermind, which have given the company the confidence and knowledge to be able to grow and reach our full potential.”
Iain Ames, Managing Director of Norwich firm Diamond Controls said: “The Mastermind sessions with Scale Up New Anglia have been a phenomenal asset to my role as Director. The opportunity came at a difficult time for myself in the business when I really felt quite alone.
“The sessions have forced me to put time aside to not only talk to like-minded peers, but to reflect on my own personal journey and what I want for me, not just for the business, which is absolutely crucial when the two are so entwined.”
In 2014, a report by the Scale Up Institute revealed there were just 108 companies in the region that made the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) definition of a Scale Up.
In response, the LEP and Growth Hub recruited Mark Hart of Aston Business School and Dan Isenberg of Babson College, Massachusetts, to advise on the development of a Scale Up Ecosystem project. The aim was to create a flexible programme that would match SMEs with high growth potential to local and national support, accelerating business growth and increasing the number of Scale Ups in the area.
Jason Middleton, Programmes Manager at the LEP, said: “We are incredibly proud of what Scale Up has achieved and that we are now able to support 300 businesses each year. The team make use of technology and guest facilitators to deliver highly relevant content and constantly adapt the programmes to businesses with Scale Up potential.
“To ensure that delivery continues to be effectively targeted and delivered, we use data to track the progress of each business one year on. That way we can also measure the increased profitability of the company as well as the improvement of the business owner or leader in terms of their confidence to run the business successfully.”
To find out more about Scale Up New Anglia visit www.newangliagrowthhub.co.uk/scale-up/