Enterprise and skills review phase two report: supporting papers

Papers supporting to the Enterprise and Skills Review phase two report on enterprise and business support.

Scoping Document for Scotland Can Do Scale

The Need

Under the Scottish Government's ( SG) Programme for Government and the Enterprise and Skills Review, there is an intent to stimulate more businesses in Scotland to realise their growth ambitions and scale-up, and thereby create significant economic growth, jobs and wealth across Scotland. Specifically, within the SG's Innovation Action Plan there is the objective:

"to increase our ability to scale up innovative companies with rapid growth potential, by drawing together existing high growth initiatives into a collaborative ScaleUp programme. "

The critical importance of ScaleUps to Scotland's economy are further summarised in the MIT REAP Scotland Report [1] and Sherry Coutu's ScaleUp Report [2] and elsewhere as part of the broader support for business growth. Both the REAP Scotland and Coutu Reports identify target areas they believe will make the greatest impact.

The Challenge

  • How can Scotland create significantly more companies who have the ambition and potential to scale up to T/O £50-£100m+, significantly increasing their impact on the Scottish economy?
  • How can we get better, more globally comparable data on Scotland's performance in ScaleUps which informs support provision to raise Scotland's profile as a global location to anchor companies? e.g. Barclays Entrepreneurship Index has Scotland as the worst performing region in the UK [3] .
  • How can the wider ecosystem in Scotland effectively engage with these ambitious high potential companies at the earliest opportunity and thereafter to ensure they get the right support at the right time to accelerate their growth?
  • Currently, although there is already a wide range of tailored support on offer in Scotland, there is an opportunity to join this up more effectively and to ensure this is presented in a manner that is more streamlined, coherent, accessible and collectively focused on this key group of businesses - and a willingness to do so.
  • The Programme for Government makes clear Ministerial expectations that the 'collaborative and expanded' scale work must be bridged into the start-up world to provide a 'conveyor' of ambition and support.

Our Objective

To accelerate ambitious business growth and the economic impacts on GDP, jobs and tax revenue by:

  • Building momentum behind a joined up and inclusive ScaleUp movement in Scotland to raise awareness, connectivity and ambition ('Scotland CAN DO Scale').
  • Collaborating to tidy up the "supply side", i.e. have a clear joined-up offer for companies on a scale-up journey ensuring the customer is at the heart of all thinking, and embed continuous improvement to develop jointly the service offering, maximising resources and expertise across the ecosystem.
  • Collaborating to identify and activate the "demand side", i.e. to find ScaleUp leaders and companies to give them a smooth and rapid path through the system of support available.
  • Collaborating to establish common measurement across what we do.

Collaboration in Scale Up means an inclusive partnership across all the public, private and third sector, working together with a shared vision, clear roles and responsibilities that are defined to help achieve the shared goals, value-add and clarity about each organisation's contribution.

The Customer

The target customers are entrepreneurs/business leaders who exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Have the ambition to grow significantly and with pace; and
  • Are innovation driven and have an international mindset.

And can demonstrate through their firms:

  • The potential to grow substantially relative to their base and a stretch aspiration for turnover of at least £50-100m;
  • Evidence of customer traction in their market and the potential for global reach;
  • The ability to raise funds beyond the seed stage (if relevant);
  • The existence of a commercially focussed executive team / board;
  • At the outset, normally, turnover of >£500k and a staff of >5 employees, i.e. they have the resources to hand to turn their ambition and market traction into reality.

The customer

Key Areas of Focus

Tidy up and align the "Supply Side"

a. Shared Framework and Language – refine and agree a shared understanding of the customer characteristics and needs at each of the phases of development amongst those servicing high growth businesses, supported by a common language to identify and describe these. Can we create a shared framework for the stages and needs that is used by all and can evolve over time? We should also seek to develop and use a shared diagnostic tool to assess firms in a similar way.

b. Alignment of Development Programmes – develop the informal group that has come together of all those offering ScaleUp development programmes including SE, HIE, ES, THF, Strathclyde Business School, ESpark, Codebase, LSE to help prioritise support services on key interventions to help unlock the growth potential.

c. Alignment of other Interventions – seek to align other interventions in a similar way to development programmes, e.g. NXDs and Boards, learning journeys/trade visits, mentorship, peer networks, access to finance.

d. Involve other Stakeholders – important to engage and involve other stakeholders including banks, advisory community, media.

Stoking and fuelling the "Demand Side"

e. Identification - there is poor visibility of who these Scale Up leaders are. Is it possible to create a master list of ScaleUps for communication and tracking?

f. Communications and Media – how best to agree, develop and implement a comms plan with key messages to use externally with the business community and media to drive engagement and momentum behind the pan-Scotland multi-organisational Scotland CAN DO Scale movement.

g. Portal – potential to create Scotland CAN DO Scale portal, for example under the CanDo banner and linked to the proposed single digital access point for business support that will for example:

  • Filter and direct to appropriate place for account management;
  • Promote all the programmes available to ScaleUp businesses/entrepreneurs in a consistent and clear way so the entrepreneur/business leader can see the benefits and differences of each programme;
  • Enable those who believe they are running a ScaleUp (and meet the characteristics / criteria) to register on the site;
  • Identify and celebrate Scotland's ScaleUp firms – perhaps top 100.;
  • carry case studies of how the programmes have supported the scale-up / scaling journey;
  • potentially offer information and links to access talent, access funding, access networks and other development opportunities.

Note to ensure there is a consistent experience at each stage of the entrepreneurial journey, it is important this portal – like the overall Scotland CAN DO Scale programme - is linked into any national access point for business support and the other relevant stages of a business' development, including pre-start-up and start up, as well as support for e.g. microbusiness and businesses more generally.

h. Recognition – potential to:

  • offer a "Scotland CAN DO Scale" badge of recognition to those meeting the criteria.
  • Publish and celebrate a list of the Top [100] ScaleUps in Scotland [potential opportunity to partner with media, e.g. Insider].
  • Track and publish collective impact on turnover, jobs and profit in ScaleUps.

i. Use behavioural insights (nudge) to increase demand and link to work on raising ambition more generally.

Measuring our progress

  • Engage experts in measurement into the discussion, e.g. Fraser of Allander, GEM, SG/ SE/ HIE economists, Business Insider etc.
  • Do we use the OECD definition of ScaleUp[4] in measurement for consistency as part of our measures?
  • Measures might include:

    i. the number of scaling businesses per 10,000 population (initially to provide a baseline);
    ii. turnover and jobs growth in this segment;
    iii. the number of enquiries across all partners as an indicator raised awareness and ambition

  • Integrate with the analytical unit being established in support of the Strategic Board to provide a focus for analytical activity across Scotland's enterprise and skills agencies..


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