The research indicates that Britain is closing the “scale-up gap”, as identified in a 2014 report by entrepreneur Sherry Coutu.
The UK economy may be growing faster than any other G8 nation, but recent data has shown that it lags behind the US and other leading economies when it comes to scaling companies. This was termed as the scale-up gap. She suggested, however, that a boost of just one per cent to Britain’s scale-up population could drive an additional 238,000 jobs and £38bn to gross value added (GVA) within three years.
The same report defined a scale-up business as having ten or more employees and recording average annual growth in revenue or employees of at least 20 per cent over three consecutive years. According to the Citrix research, one tenth of all British businesses of this size have recorded average annual growth of more than 20 per cent over the last two years.
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation said: “The gazelle-like pace and momentum we’re experiencing in the small business world is not abating, rather it’s increasing as more and more people seize the day and set about starting up a business of their own, taking control of their own destiny.
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“This report shows more than ever are now taking their companies to the next level and entering the fast lane and high growth. It’s great news for the British economy – and for all those millions of small and micro business owners that are just starting out or growing a company to fit in with their own lifestyle and aspirations.”
The findings revealed a strong correlation between company growth, technology investment and high growth businesses – the companies that Citrix had identified for the scale up comparison. The SMEs that grew by 50 per cent or more over the last two years were four times more likely to have invested in technology in 2014 than they did in 2013 (27 per cent) than those that stayed the same size or decreased (six per cent).
It was also highlighted how technology was helping British SMEs overcome potential barriers to scaling up a business. These barriers included sourcing business locations and expanding into new markets.
The extent to which British SMEs were focused on international markets was demonstrated by 2014 research by Citrix and YouGov, which found that 60 per cent of SMEs expected to be doing business internationally in 2016. Some 28 per cent also expected revenue from international sales to increase.
Access to the right talent was another cited barrier to growth. It was revealed that high growth businesses were increasingly seeking out new pools of talent, with 38 per cent having recruited employees from other regions of the UK or abroad. Many of these employees have relocated, however, 21 per cent said their business had employed people from outside of their local region who worked remotely.
Digital offers all companies the opportunity to disrupt traditional markets through the development of new business models, the report said.
Andrew Millard, senior director of international marketing at Citrix, said SMEs were a critical engine of growth for the UK economy. He claimed that technology was clearly playing an important role in overcoming some of the traditional barriers to growth, while digital competency was becoming the new currency of growth.
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