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Greater Birmingham and Solihull Companies Gain Scale Up Recognition

The number of fast-growing ambitious businesses with leaders hungry for success is increasing across Greater Birmingham and Solihull – new insights from the ScaleUp Institute reveal.

There are now 985 companies in the region that meet the definition of scaleup because they have increased turnover or employment by more than 20% annually. Greater Birmingham and Solihull scaleups are employing a total of 112,000 staff and their turnover is worth £12.7 billion. This is according to new research by the ScaleUp Institute based on the latest 2017 ONS data.

In the area, the top five scaleups by employment growth are UK Power Reserve, MV Kelly, Steel Processing (Midlands) Ltd, TeacherActive and Palletline, while the top five for turnover growth are Palletline, UK Power Reserve, Box Limited, Hannafin Contractors and Tamworth Steel.

Across the UK there are over 36,000 scaleups, an increase of 3.7% from 2016.

ScaleUp Institute Chief Executive, Irene Graham, said:

“Scaleups are the engine drivers of local economies; they are twice as innovative as large firms, employ twice as many apprentices, are twice as likely to be operating in international markets, and, significantly, they create high quality jobs.

“Their aspirations remain high. According to our recent ScaleUp survey eight out of ten expect to scale again in 2019, generating £1.5 billion more in turnover and creating an extra 7,000 jobs.”

“While they are ambitious about their growth, scaleups continue to face major challenges. In Greater Birmingham and Solihull they particularly highlight access to talent, access to UK markets, leadership development and access to tax breaks as key issues. They also want easier access to support from peer-to-peer networks, local professional services and stronger connections to public sector support opportunities, notably the LEP and for innovation.”

Saqib Bhatti, Director for Growing Businesses with Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), said:

“Scale-ups are integral to the growth of the region’s economy and driving innovation, and we are making it easier for businesses to access the resources they need to grow.

“We recognise businesses do not always realise the resources that are available to them and, to ensure sustainable growth, we want to offer them advice as well as information.

“Our Growth Hub offers advice, guidance and access to funding for businesses and entrepreneurs. The Hub offers online and face-to-face advice from expert business advisors, in both the public and private sectors. To date, the hub as supported over 1,000 businesses.

“As well as the Growth Hub, we have designed and are delivering a number of business growth programmes including: the Mentoring for Growth scheme that pairs leaders of ambitious SMEs with experienced business mentors and offers leaders guidance on business planning, talent acquisition and risk management; the Rail Mentoring programme is introducing SMEs with high-growth potential to global firms that advised companies on how to shape their product or service to meet the high quality expectations of the rail supply chain.

“We are committed to inclusive growth and developing the business ecosystem – we have worked in partnership with organisations such as Centre for Research into Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) on schemes to support business growth among migrant and black minority ethnic business owners.

“This year, we plan to deepen our engagement with our partners in the public, private and academic sectors, local businesses and the wider community to ensure we are meeting our core objectives – one of which is to increase business survival and growth.”

The ScaleUp Institute notes that Greater Birmingham and Solihull offers a number of services for scaling businesses. “This is encouraging and we will continue to monitor their impact,” said Irene Graham.