The West of England’s first ever Scale-up Summit took place on Wednesday – bringing together over 70 entrepreneurs from the region’s high-growth businesses to connect with funding and support providers.
The summit was hosted by the West of England Growth Hub, which helps businesses in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to start, innovate, grow and thrive. The Growth Hub is run by the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership and funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Founders from ambitious, growing businesses came together to hear practical advice from organisations offering access to finance and support. The event was opened by West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, who highlighted the region’s track record of nurturing talent and business growth with success stories including business ‘unicorns’ Graphcore and Ovo Energy.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “We are an economically successful region where businesses start, grow and thrive in high numbers. As the Regional Mayor, it is one of my priorities is to ensure they get the continuing help and support they need to grow and prosper. This Summit is a great way to bring businesses and support providers together to continue to drive that economic success.”
Josh Robson, Head of External Affairs at the ScaleUp Institute, gave an overview of how high growth businesses contribute to the economy locally and nationally. The West of England is in the top five UK regions for high growth businesses, with scale-ups contributing turnover of nearly £10bn per year to the local economy.
Paul Jones from the British Business Bank described the funding environment for growing businesses and the role of the British Business Bank in improving access to finance. The audience also heard inspiring stories from the founders of successful businesses including Andrew Scott from the Ascot Group and Neil Douglas from Viper Innovations.
Neil Douglas, Managing Director of Viper Innovations and Board member of the Local Enterprise Partnership shared his thoughts on growing a successful business. In 10 years, he has grown his profitable business from three to 50 employees and won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. He said: “It was great to experience the buzz of the Scale-up Summit. If you put fast-growing companies and entrepreneurs in one room and you all talk about the opportunities and support that is available to push and increase the growth, then it creates a buzz which reflects the vibrant business landscape we have in the West of England.”
The business audience also heard ‘lightning pitches’ from a range of organisations that provide support to growing businesses, including coaching, strategy development and access to funding.
For more information on the extensive support available in the West of England, please visit the West of England Growth Hub and the Scale-up Generator, which features a map of over 400 support services for scaling businesses. The Growth Map is available to download from www.scaleupgenerator.co.uk and the app is available in Android and Apple app stores.
The West of England Combined Authority is also set to receive £1.35m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to support creative businesses in the region, building on the good work of the Growth Hub.