The regional differences between different parts of the UK have been apparent for a long time. In the investment space, 75% of all angel funding is concentrated in London, Cambridge and the South East. This stat is one of many that demonstrate the imbalance in economic activity between regions and is particularly important to fuelling the innovation sector.
It’s no surprise that the Coronavirus pandemic has stifled these attempts, with research revealing that the pandemic has made levelling up four times harder. In a year where businesses have struggled to scale it’s clear that what’s required is a support system for them to re-emerge and grow again.
Since its inception, NorthInvest has solidified its status as a go-to organisation for supporting tech start-ups across the North, in connecting them with funding and growing their business. As it enters its fourth year of operations the opportunity has arisen to extend its reach beyond early stage companies and help those looking to scale up their operations. Scale-ups in the UK faced a funding shortfall of £15bn in 2020, largely due to the pandemic, with companies outside London struggling the most in trying to grow back stronger. An ambitious growth plan is needed to catch up with the South.
NorthInvest has therefore launched its new initiative, the Scaling Senate, borne out of a desire to help with this growth focus, close the regional gap and expand the organisation’s offering. The initiative will see an impressive panel of industry leaders meeting a selected group of scaling business founders every three months, to help them in their next phase of growth. This panel has agreed to give its time for free and provide help, guidance and support to businesses wishing to get invaluable insights into their growth journey. The members of the Scaling Senate are as follows:
- Professor Adam Beaumont – Founder of aql and NorthInvest.
- Alistair Brownlee – World champion triathlete and angel investor.
- Nick Frankland – Managing Director of Fintech at Legal and General.
- Richard Flint – Former CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming.
- Richard Gregory OBE – Senior advisor to Virgin Money UK.
- Rachel Hannan – An experienced Chair, Non-Executive Director and Board Advisor across a range of sectors.
- Helen Oldham – Founding board director of NorthInvest and former managing director of The Yorkshire Post/The Scotsman.
The inaugural edition of the Scaling Senate took place on Tuesday, 13th April from 1pm-5:30pm. Participating companies were given an hour each with the Senate Members to discuss the problems they are experiencing when it comes to scaling up their business. They received feedback on their business propositions, suggestions on how to overcome the obstacles preventing them from progressing in the future, as well as introductions to contacts that could be of huge strategic importance in the future.
The three companies that participated at the inaugural event were BuboAI, Immersify Education and Tribosonics. Nick Frankland, who sat on the Senate, said: “NorthInvest has created a legacy of delivery for start-up businesses seeking supportive funders and galvanised key influencers to promote enterprising businesses in the north. Now, more than ever before, is the time for these businesses to extend their contact list, gain valuable connections and be “supported” by those fortunate enough to have succeeded.”
These companies each spent an hour with the Senate, and have since reflected on their experiences:
I was really impressed with the scope of expertise on the panel and hope to be able to obtain more advice from their experiences.
Chloe Barrett, CEO, Immersify Education
“I was delighted to be invited to represent my company, Tribosonics, at NorthInvest’s’ inaugural Scale Senate. The Scale Senate members are experienced, connected and super interested in businesses that are scaling and how/where they can help. It’s a structured initial discussion but has a natural fluidity where the panel is more than willing to follow the direction of the attendee and go straight to “the ask”, adding value around what the attendee is actually looking for. In my case, I was looking for relevant and influential c-suite contacts in large UK industrial enterprises and value-chains, so we can shorten the engagement cycle in the process of pulling through and adopting our game changing sensing technology to drive digital transformation and gain sustainability improvements. I’m looking forward to working with the panel post-event and I’m confident they will be able to add value for Tribosonics.”
Glenn Fletcher, CEO, Tribosonics
Once again, on behalf of the Bubo.AI team, thank you for the opportunity to share our story. It was a fantastic experience and a great conversation with helpful feedback. We are delighted to be part of your programme. I’m sure the following sessions will give us an excellent opportunity to have more insightful conversations and explore other areas of the business where you could provide helpful feedback and direction.
Marcin Lisowski, Director of Customer Success, BuboAI
The progress of these companies will be tracked by NorthInvest as they grow over the coming years. Furthermore, the Scaling Senate will also be reconvening in three month’s time to meet a new set of companies, with applications for this opening at a later date.