Majority of scaleups say it’s getting harder to grow a business

Half of scaleup CEOs say they do not have enough venture capital investment to meet current growth trajectory

The majority of scaleup bosses say it is harder to grow a business in the UK than in the past.

Six out of ten scaleup CEOs are gloomy about the prospects of scaling a business in Britain, compared with four in ten last year.

And half of scaleup bosses have concerns as to whether the UK will be a good location to grow a business in the future.

>See also: The five key business growth drivers

The downbeat outlook is contained in the Scaleup Institute’s latest annual review, which surveyed 338 scaleups generating £2.5bn in revenue between them and employing over 12,400 people.

The Scaleup Institute defines a scaleup as companies that have increased their turnover and/or employee numbers annually by more than 20 per cent over a three-year period.

Half of scaleup CEOs say they do not have enough venture capital to meet their growth trajectory, and a similar percentage believe that such VC money is locked into London and the South-East.

As an illustration, back in 1999, 73 per cent of money invested in scaleups came from equity investment – by 2018 that figure had fallen to 18 per cent.

Bullish growth outlook

Despite the apparent gloom, one in five of entrepreneurs at the helm of fast-growing companies still expect to increase sales by more than 50 per cent next year.

While business owners were “very much more concerned” about the economic outlook in the UK, 90 per cent said they were confident they could grow their companies in the next 12 months, with 20 per cent even more positive, expecting sales growth of 50 per cent or more.

The number of scaleups continues to expand, hitting 33,955 businesses at the end of 2020, according to the latest official data, and contributing £1.2tr to the UK economy.

Further reading

50% of Britain’s scaleups expect to raise finance this year