Scaling Up


London is the home of scaleups. Business creation is essential for building an ambitious and innovative economy, but this is just one piece of the picture. I have been campaigning for London to widen its gaze and focus on ‘scaleups’, in order to secure significant growth in jobs, taxes and wealth, and the competitive advantage of Britain for generations to come.

By turning our attention to company growth, we can spotlight the actions, as a society, needed to make London the best ‘Scaleup City’ in the world. There are enormous benefits to be realised by increasing the proportion of scaleup companies across the business landscape, these determined entrepreneurs sponsor economic prosperity and boost productivity throughout the capital and across Britain.

We have identified a huge opportunity to be taken: a one per cent boost to our scaleup population would bring about an additional 238,000 jobs and £225bn in Gross Value Added (GVA).

Wood Wharf will become the largest home to scaleups in the city – a new piece of London that will house at least 200 scaleups.

I firmly believe that the key to economic growth is the ability for scaleups to develop locally, with data providing critical evidence for identifying and verifying fast growing companies and helping to facilitate further expansion of their innovative businesses.

The need for the whole ecosystem of stakeholders to collaborate to improve their local environments so that a greater proportion of companies make the leap from ‘small to large’ is essential. The responsibility to become a ‘Scaleup Nation’ rests with all of us.

There can be no doubt that London has the talent, capital and infrastructure to foster the next generation of fast growth businesses. The priority must now be, to take on the challenges that startups face in making the next big leap forwards. London is the destination for scaleups, that message has to be made loud and clear, it is vital that we dedicate the resources to transforming the earliest stage ventures to the UK’s biggest businesses.

It could not be clearer that we cannot rest on our laurels. Many countries and regions globally have already turned their attention to scaleups as a means of economic growth. If the UK does not align priorities effectively to the fastest growing businesses, we run the risk of falling behind.

The ScaleUp Institute’s 2017 survey showed that while scaleup business leaders remain upbeat about their growth and export plans, they felt that the UK would become a harder place in which to grow a business. We cannot allow this to happen. We must act now to achieve long- term, sustainable results.

Competitive advantage doesn’t go to the nations that focus on creating companies, it goes to nations that focus on scaling companies.

Sherry Coutu CBE is a
serial entrepreneur and
angel investor who chairs
The ScaleUp Institute along with sitting on the boards
of companies, charities
and universities.