Greater Manchester is now home to 1,375 fast growing companies that can help the area overcome the economic challenges created by Covid-19.
Their importance to the local economy is underscored by the fact that they are employing a total of 143,623 staff and generating £24.9bn in turnover, according to the ScaleUp Institute’s analysis of the most recent official data.
These 1,375 are part of an innovative and productive scaleup community across the UK of businesses that have grown their turnover or employment by 20% a year over a three-year period.
However, with headwinds created by COVID-19 and Brexit these scaleups need effective support to remove a range of barriers that could challenge their long-term growth and the role they can play in helping Greater Manchester flourish economically.
ScaleUp Institute Chief Executive Irene Graham said: “Scaleups have remained resilient in the face of the Covid-19 emergency and continue to be critical to local economies with many still planning to grow.”
“But this is no time for complacency, with scaleups citing challenges on accessing markets and appropriate finance dialing up, as they face into the uncertainties that Covid and Brexit create. We must double down on efforts to create a supportive environment or risk losing the benefit of their enterprise and productivity.”
“And that would be a huge loss as scaleups are 54% more productive than other businesses, twice as likely to offer apprenticeships, are more than twice as innovative, and, significantly, they create high quality jobs.”
“Now is the time to also bring on those firms that are in the ‘pipeline’ – whose performance puts them just outside the definition of a scaleup – of which there are 700 in Greater Manchester.”
“In Greater Manchester scaleup leaders particularly highlight access to talent, access to UK markets, and access to infrastructure/ premises and broadband as key issues. We recognise that Greater Manchester offers a number of services for scaleups, which we will continue to monitor in how they are addressing their concerns.”
The ScaleUp Institute has also carried out research with Arup to understand what factors most influenced the local growth of scaleups. Using a range of variables and regression analysis this research has shown 3 key local factors make a vital difference: access to equity finance (growth capital), access to skills and the existence of sectoral clusters.
Richard Jeffery, Director of Business Growth, The Growth Company said: “Through GC Business Growth Hub we are proud to support Greater Manchester’s scaleup community through programmes like Global Scale Up, Creative Scale Up and Greater Connected.
“Even during lockdown, we have been able to continue offering these services remotely and have seen the impact that they are having on businesses in our region. We’ve empowered them to grow in incredibly challenging circumstances by reaching new markets national and globally, pivoting to meet the needs of these times.
“As we move out of lockdown, we will see the positive impact that Greater Manchester’s scaleup businesses will have in helping the economy to recover from the effects of Covid-19.”