The participants discussed key developments, needs and opportunities for scaleup data and research as well as lessons learnt from selected scaleup programs and how to design effective scaleup policy measures.
“Despite the importance of scaleups, there still remain significant knowledge gaps and it is therefore important to share knowledge and develop good policies for scaleups. This has been one of the key priorities for Nordic Innovation and one of the main reasons for organizing this workshop.”Svein Berg, Managing Director, Nordic Innovation
Need for more integrated research agenda
In the first session, leading academics discussed what we need to know in the field of scaleups and high-growth firms. Prof. dr. Justin Jansen from Erasmus University, Rotterdam highlighted the importance of working towards an integrated research agenda, recognizing high growth as a multifaceted process in terms of pace, rhythm, and persistence.
“Scaling up is not a challenge of individual country or region. Effective policy and programs start with knowledge and insights about the dynamics and difference within and between countries and regions to better understand how to support HGFs at a European level."Prof. dr. Justin Jansen, Erasmus University, Rotterdam
Prof. dr. Veroniek Collewaert, Director of Vlerick Business School’s Scaleup Centre, concluded that more attention is needed towards the diverse needs scaleups may have, moving beyond funding to also include access to talent, markets and overall business models that support scaleability.
Scaleups matter - segmentation is the key
The second session presented the most recent scaleup insights and discussed needs regarding scaleup data and statistics. Today, several scaleup definitions are used in parallel, and the discussion emphasized the need for more elaborated definitions and segmentation to better understand scaleups, their characteristics and needed policy measures. Existing data is often found to be too general for policy purposes and thus, microdata is seen as indispensable to fill the existing data gaps.
The UK Scaleup Institute has gathered scaleup data for the past 9 years. Irene Graham, Co-founder and CEO, the UK Scaleup Institute, emphasized the importance of segmentation as not all businesses are treated the same; scaleups have very special demands and needs so segmentation remains important.
“We have identified five key challenges: talent, market access, leadership capacity, growth capital and infrastructure. These challenges are very core for all scaleups."Irene Graham, Co-founder and CEO, The UK Scaleup Institute
The discussion concluded that, despite of a common interest in supporting scaleups, there is still too much focus on startups in Europe. To tackle the challenges, we should not reinvent the wheel but use the data and knowledge we already have. The need to increase European collaboration and creation of global initiatives were regarded important.
Learnings from Scaleup programs
In the third session, current European scaleup programs were presented. The session served as a hands-on inspiration on how to support and work with scaleups. The discussion covered topics like eligibility criteria, selection process, program structure, measurement of results and lessons learnt including the main challenges and best practices. There was a common understanding that tailor-made programs, entailing mentoring and peer-to-peer networking are key elements of a successful scaleup program.
“Even though the programs are targeted at slightly different scaleup segments depending on the maturity of the scaleup ecosystems in question, I was struck by the commonalities between the programs. Increasing emphasis on peer-to-peer learning and networking as well as providing visibility and recognition for scaleups resonate well with our experience in the Nordics.”Anna-Maija Sunnanmark, Head of Nordic Scalers program, Nordic Innovation
A European Scaleup Ecosystem
The final session was looking into the current policies within the European Union. Philippe Huberdeau, Secretary General for Scale-Up Europe, outlined four areas of action with the purpose to build a European scaleup ecosystem: finance, talent, deep-tech and interaction between corporates and scaleups.
Working together is success
There was a general agreement, that the workshop is an important tool in the development of future scaleup initiatives and policies and that increased European collaboration is the key to success.
Managing Director from Nordic Innovation, Svein Berg closed the workshop with a quote from Henry Ford: “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”