Scaleups ‘vital’ for the future

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Cornwall and Isles of Scilly is now home to 280 fast-growing companies that can help the area overcome the economic challenges created by Covid-19.

This is according to new analysis from the ScaleUp Institute. Its report says these companies are part of an innovative and productive scaleup community across the UK that have grown their turnover or employment by 20% a year over a three-year period.

These 280 businesses in Cornwall, says the report, employ a total of 13,272 staff and generate £1 billion in turnover.

However, with headwinds created by Covid-19 and Brexit, the report’s authors say 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 Cornwall and Isles of Scilly 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 175 in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.

“In Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, scaleup leaders particularly highlight access to talent, access to UK markets, access to bank finance, and access to tax breaks as key issues. We recognise that Cornwall and Isles of Scilly offers a number of services for scaleups, which we will continue to monitor in how they are addressing their concerns.”