The report is aimed at a wide-ranging audience with an interest in business and economic growth, including business leaders, investors, academics, educators, and local and national government. Every effort has been made to ensure the evidence contained here is transparent, verifiable and able to be peer-reviewed.3 The findings are based on both primary and secondary research in the UK and other leading economies, including:

  • A review of a wide range of academic research into the dynamics of business and economic growth. In particular, the report builds on research conducted into 'high impact' entrepreneurship by experts at the universities of Aston, Oxford, Cambridge, MIT and Harvard, as well as the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Nesta, the OECD, Endeavor, Kauffman, the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), Prelude, and McKinsey. It also draws on two recent reports focused on economic growth in the UK: the Adonis Review4 and the McKinsey/Centre for Cities report into economically significant clusters.5
  • Workshops with practitioners, investors, business leaders & policymakers to understand current practice and future plans.
  • Interviews with hundreds of scale-up policy-makers and practitioners from the UK and the world
  • A survey of hundreds of UK scale-up leaders to understand from their point of view and in their voice what the main barriers were to their growth.
  • An evaluation of the most effective initiatives aimed at supporting scale-up companies, which are showcased throughout the report and at (see Appendix 4 for further details).
  • Commissioning Deloitte and Royal Bank of Scotland to support the analysis of the potential impact on the UK economy of closing the scale-up gap. Deloitte has published its analysis in full in a separate paper entitled Scale-up Challenge: An Impact Report by Deloitte. This includes a detailed methodology that sets out their approach and the assumptions underpinning the projections.6
  • Peer-review by leading academic and policy experts whose research this report seeks to build upon and the review's Steering Committee (see Appendix 2 for the full membership).

[3] This is in line with guidance to evidence for policy as set out in: Intellectual Property Office (2013). Guide to Evidence for Policy Update 2013. Retrieved from
[4] Adonis, A. (2014). Mending the Fractured Economy. Retrieved from
[5] Centre for Cities/McKinsey (2014), Industrial Revolutions: Capturing the Growth Potential. Retrieved from:
[6] In summary, Deloitte investigated a range of impact estimates for the UK economy for the period 2014-2034. These are based on a range of data sets, including the Office for National Statistics, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Oxford Economics, as well as using Deloitte's Long-term Economic Growth Framework that sets out how levels of employment and productivity determine GVA. Deloitte controlled for the expected displacement of economic activity and deadweight to determine projections for the potential net impact of this report's recommendations.