Innovate UK’s scaleup support delivers value and enters new era

Independent evaluation of the Innovate UK EDGE Scaleup programme shows significant value for money, whilst it announces its new Scaleup programme alumni community.

Innovate UK EDGE is Innovate UK’s national business growth and scaling service, provided by over 300 innovation and growth specialists and 25 scaleup directors embedded in regional ecosystems.

Today, I am pleased to unveil the interim summative assessment for the Innovate UK EDGE Scaleup programme, that credits it with positive outcomes for participants and delivering significant value for money.

We are also announcing a major initiative to inaugurate a new era for the expanded programme, the Innovate UK EDGE Scaleup Programme Alumni Community.

The scaleup programme

The Innovate UK EDGE Scaleup programme is dedicated to helping the very fastest growing innovation-driven British businesses to scale.

The programme invites research and development (R&D) intensive SMEs, with 50% or more, compound annual growth, or such growth potential, to receive bespoke coaching from experts on our Scaleup Board.

The combined resources, skills and connectivity of the 25 scaleup directors on the board have helped our clients at decisive moments in their scaling journeys in challenge areas such as:

  • finance
  • mergers and acquisitions
  • international markets
  • intellectual property (IP)
  • supply chains
  • leadership
  • talent management.

Premised on the scaleup directors’ deep understanding of each client’s proposition and market, the programme prepares beneficiaries for serious fundraising and international expansion. They are then much better positioned to become the next champions for British innovation on the global stage. 

Interim summative assessment

We knew from performance data collected on the 168 Scaleup programme participants to date, that they were witnessing strong growth in the course of our engagements. The growth and wider benefits for individual companies have also been captured in compelling success stories such as:

However, the true test of such a programme is rigorous analysis by an independent reviewer that connects positive outcomes to the intervention. The Innovation Partnership has just completed such an analysis for the Innovate UK EDGE Scaleup Programme.

Its interim summative assessment covers 79 companies supported by the programme in the period between April 2019 and March 2021.

The Innovation Partnership consulted key stakeholders and conducted qualitative and quantitative research among participants to gain insight into the value added. It explored the degree to which the Scaleup Programme has stimulated growth within the target businesses, whilst also examining wider benefits of engagement, such as culture change within the organisations.


The impact recorded in the assessment is impressive, it vindicates our approach and justifies the Scaleup programme’s continued expansion as part of the Growth at Scale theme in Innovate UK’s plan for action. Key highlights include:

  • a high return on investment, whether measured as employment-based gross value added, (realising £12.20 in value for every £1 spent on the programme) or profitability-based gross value added (realising £25.60 for every £1 spent)
  • 8 full time equivalent jobs created on average gross, directly or indirectly, per participating company
  • 86% believe Innovate UK EDGE Scaleup Programme support was intrinsic to the growth they witnessed.

Please see our infographic for more highlights.

The next steps for the Scaleup programme and the Scaleup programme alumni community

The programme has recently entered the next three-year phase of delivery. It has been bolstered by this strong evidence of success and inspired by the vision, entrepreneurial spirit and resilience of clients we have worked closely with in often challenging times. With increased resources, our goal is to work with around 200 companies each year.

The introduction of new initiatives will further enhance the experience for cohort companies. The first of such initiatives is the Innovate UK EDGE Scaleup programme alumni community, incorporating an enhanced scaleup peer offer in partnership with the ScaleUp Institute.

The inaugural Scaleup programme alumni community gathering, inviting all Scaleup programme participants past and present, takes place on 26 May 2022 at the London Stock Exchange, delivered in partnership with the Scaleup Institute.

The community was created in response to the needs and important themes identified by scaleups on the programme. It will meet in person up to three times per year and feature:

  • plenary keynote speakers
  • issue-focused roundtables
  • networking opportunities.

Alongside like-minded ambitious individuals from around the country with a shared interest in scaling up, innovation and going global.

Today’s event (26 May 2022 ) features the latest scaleup insights on:

  • talent development
  • marketing and branding
  • raising scaleup capital.

The event includes information from the London Stock Exchange on the latest capital market dynamics and new initiatives to support scaling firms. Delegates will also enjoy the unique experience of being present at market close.

Looking ahead, the community will keep Scaleup programme graduates in dialogue with:

  • Innovate UK
  • scaleup ecosystem players
  • each other.

This will allow the exchange knowledge and further build relationships and collaborations, also supporting access to high-level national and international business opportunities and contacts.

The only way is up

The Innovate UK EDGE Scaleup programme is now a recognised fixture in the UK’s growth and scaling support firmament, with robust evidence for its efficacy.

It is national, sector agnostic and led by high calibre scaleup directors. These C-suite level individuals with complementary specialisms have the lived experience to enable them to deliver their coaching with empathy and conviction.

Such characteristics make the programme a uniquely valuable service for dynamic innovation-driven businesses, who can prepare an expression of interest by contacting an Innovate UK EDGE innovation and growth specialist.

Further information

If you have any questions, please contact Innovate UK EDGE.

Find more information about the Scaleup programme, success stories and scaleup directors on the Innovate UK EDGE website.

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Top image:  Paul Holt, Managing Director at Innovate UK EDGE Scaleup Programme participant Photocentric, in conversation with Scaleup Director Chris Price-Jones. Credit: Innovate UK EDGE

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