The ScaleUp Berkshire programme is a dedicated, government-funded service designed to help high growth companies in Berkshire with £1m in turnover or more to “scale up their operations and realise their ambitions”.
It offers peer-to-peer networking events for “ambitious” CEOs and founders of scaleups in the area, of which there are 685 (defined by increased turnover or employment by more than 20% annually) according to research by the ScaleUp Institute.
One of the top five scaleups by employment growth in the area, Alert Me, is a tech company that was acquired by British Gas for $100m in 2015. Included in the top five for turnover growth are tech companies AlertMe, and Displaydata, which develops electronic shelf labelling products.
We spoke to ScaleUp Berkshire Scale Up Partner Peter Fleming to find out more about how ScaleUp Berkshire could help your business.
Why have you launched the Peer-to-Peer network?
Peter Fleming: The aim of the network is to provide founders and CEOs with an opportunity to share ideas, learn what works and explore opportunities with their peers. The Scale Up Institute research shows that peer networking is a vital element in helping businesses to scale.
We also want to provide an independent service to help business entrepreneurs to navigate what can appear to be a complex landscape for business growth, funding and support services, by providing a 1:1 support as and when a business needs it.
Who is delivering the support and what is their expertise?
There are two dedicated Scale Up Partners for the region – Julian Mobbs and myself. We both have extensive experience in the business sectors we cover. Coming from commercial backgrounds at CEO/Founder level, we understand the issues scalesup founders/CEOs face and can help to deliver pragmatic solutions.
How might digital tech scaleups benefit from the programme?
Many of the challenges faced by digital tech businesses are the same as those in any business sector, and the Scale Up Partners can bring perspectives from other sectors to help. We understand the unique dynamics of fast growing entrepreneurial businesses.
What are common challenges faced by scaleups in the region?
The most common challenges faced by tech scaleups are: hiring and retaining talent; funding and investment; expanding into new markets, and developing and maintaining a cohesive culture. Each business has its own challenges and needs different support on each part of their journey, and being able access dedicated and independent advice helps business owners manage these challenges effectively.
Why is the South East a great place for a company to scale up?
The Berkshire and Thames Valley region in particular has a talented labour pool with a high proportion of degree-level employees, and a high number of successful companies already located here. After all, success does attract success. We also have one of the best transportation networks in the country and the highest economic output and productivity rates outside London.
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