26 Aug

From Start-up to Scale-up

GEM_Frame_Scale-upTo establish a well-functioning, stable, growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, many factors should be considered – how they function and how they overlap with one another. This determines whether the economy of a country is ready to move to the next phase of economic development. One of those important factors is the number of companies with certain level of growth.

Good decisions are supported by reliable data. What are the aspirations of the population? How eager are we to start a new business? What is our growth potential? Are we limited by our country’s phase pf economic development? Do we have high levels of R&D and transfer and is it a prerequisite for an economic growth? In other words – is it time to move our focus from start-up to scale-up?

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Bulgaria uses the best instruments for measurement and analysis of the entrepreneurship ecosystem and offers recommendation for its development. Our studies help boost the conditions for scalable and balanced development of the elements forming our economic framework.

We share with you an excellent report by Sherry Coutu, Scale-up Report on UK Economic Growth (2014).

In this report, the following definition was used:

“Scale-ups are enterprises with average annualised growth in employees (or in turnover) greater than 20 per cent a year over a three-year period, and with 10 or more employees at the beginning of the observation period.”

Scale-up Report on UK Economic Growth by Sherry Coutu 2014

Scale-up Report on UK Economic Growth by Sherry Coutu 2014

The report, backed by the government, investors, academics, CEOs and business leaders claim that a small group of rapidly expanding ‘scale-up’ companies create a significant proportion of the UK’s economic growth.

The independent report spells out a strategy to secure economic growth by supporting businesses across Britain in their ambition to “scale-up” more quickly. Targeting more support to the companies who are already growing fast will give the UK a much better chance to ‘create the next Google’. Britain has been very successful at creating new businesses, and now starts more companies per capita than the US. However, not enough of these start-ups are scaling-up into large companies, and Britain still has a lower proportion of large companies than the US and other nations. It is high growth “Scale-Up” companies that contribute a disproportionate amount of jobs and growth to the economy.

Sherry Coutu, author of the report, comments: “Britain’s Start-up community is flying. The next stage of creating wealth, prosperity and jobs will come from focusing on Scale-ups. We have the chance to identify and support the companies that are already creating new jobs and help them further drive the UK economy. People often ask if the UK could be home to the next global success story, like a Google or Facebook. The answer is yes, and there are plenty of great initiatives already showing we can do it. But we need to be more effective at identifying the companies that have the greatest potential, and making sure they can find the most talented people and serve more customers, in more countries, more easily.

The report published in November 2014 received numerous endorsements from around the world, and in June 2015 by invitation of Sherry Coutu, Iskren Krusteff, chairman of GEM Bulgaria attended the inaugural lecture of Reid Hoffman of the Scale-up Institute in London. Reid Hoffman is an internet entrepreneur, investor and author, cofounder of Linkedin, part of the founding team of PayPal, Board member of Endeavor Global and recipient of numerous honours and awards for his achievements and contribution.

Sherry Coutu Reid Hoffman Scale-up Institute inaugural lecture 2015

Sherry Coutu and Reid Hoffman at the Scale-up Institute inaugural lecture, June 2015

Sherry Coutu is an entrepreneur, investor, mentor, board member of Zoopla, London Stock Exchange group, advisor to Linkedin, The Royal Society, universities and charities, philanthropist and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to entrepreneurship. She was voted by TechCrunch as the best CEO mentor / advisor in Europe in Nov 2010.


The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is the biggest study on entrepreneurship in the world since 1999. GEM Bulgaria conducted its first surveys in 2015. Reports will be available in 2016. Stay informed by signing up for our Bulletin.