Driving Economic Growth through developing the Scale-up Ecosystem
Engine Shed is committed to doing what it can to stimulate long term, sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Some of that growth will come from what we call “Scale-ups” – companies which have consistently high growth (either in terms of people or sales). Businesses, in fact all organisations, that grow will deliver economic growth whether directly through taxation or indirectly through employment.
Economic activity is more valuable if it lasts and is inclusive – i.e. it employs a diverse range of people. Diversity is good not only because organisations run better with diversity – at all levels in the organisation – but encourages employers to tap into communities they might otherwise not, which then has wider positive effects. So it makes sense that we do what we can to create a business environment where it is easier for organisations to grow, or scale up.
We work in partnership with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and the Growth Hub (the online resource for helping businesses find that support that they need) to employ a ‘Scale up Enabler’ for the region.
This project inputs directly into the Growth Hub which helps to support Scale-up businesses – in fact we see the Growth Hub as the prime ‘point of contact’ for Scale-up businesses in the area.
What does this mean in practice?
Briony Phillips, Scale up Enabler and Associate Director for Engine Shed has mapped out three priorities:
- To invigorate the investment ecosystem in the region and improve access to finance – we will run the Quarterly Investment Briefing (with support from Smith & Williamson, TLT LLP and KPMG) and build the UKBAA Angel Hub, we will facilitate the Investor In Residence service at Engine Shed.
- To inspire founders and aspiring scale ups – we will share inspiration through a series of Scale up Briefing events and a growing bank of case studies. We will support peer to peer networks.
- To invigorate and build the profile of this region as a home for successful scale-up companies – we will share resources, data and maps to expose the great work that happens here and we will gather and share intelligence to minimise duplication and maximise collaboration. We will make support more accessible.
To read more about this work, and our activities, you can explore the Scale up Generator website which was launched in August 2018: www.scaleupgenerator.co.uk. We would hate to do this in a silo and Briony is keen to hear from anyone about challenges, barriers and opportunities for creating a better business environment, for organisations to scale up. Briony will work openly as much as possible, you can follow her work via twitter @BrionyPhi1
We are working closely with the Scale Up Institute in London, on this project – and they have some useful context here.
This work is only possible thanks to an initial experiment from June 2017 – June 2018 run by Engine Shed, Business West, The University of Bristol and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). This work explored the barriers, or gaps, are, in our business “ecosystem” particularly for those businesses experiencing or contemplating high growth and identified activities that fill those gaps, implement those interventions or ideas or find others to fill the gaps, as appropriate. This work is captured in our Scale up Yearbook, published in August 2018 to tell the story of the Scale-up Enabler’s work and opportunities for the future.