In this guest post we have a tête-à-tête with Engine Shed’s Associate Director and Scale Up Enabler, Briony Phillips, to gain her insight into business growth and scaleup enabling.
What is a scaleup enabler? I hear you ask. Well, Emily asked the same thing to Briony in the first of many questions.
“Originally starting as a pilot scheme, and the only one of its kind in the country, a scaleup enabler is a focused role which exists to help solve the challenges faced by fast-growth companies in the West of England. The main activities are to understand and raise awareness of the challenges that exist and then to work across the public and private sector to create, influence and share the solutions.”
What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding about successful business growth?
“To me, there are two major misunderstandings that stand out. The first is that revenue-driven companies are less valuable than equity-backed ones – notably because this can affect decision making. The second is that there has to be the same leader throughout a company’s growth journey. Although this is true at different stages, one person cannot do everything. For example, a founder might be visionary whilst also not being the best person to deliver a global brand.”
KPMG reported that the South West received the most investment in the last quarter in the UK. Why do you think this is?
“The South West is vibrant, dynamic, and interesting! Obviously, the investment is helped by the big unicorns, Graphcore and Ovo; but separate to that, the South West has the third biggest angel investor community in the UK. However, there’s a lot more support in Bristol that wasn’t here 3 years ago. If you’re a small business in need of support, whether that’s incubation, office space or HR, there are multiple places that you can go to. This makes companies more viable and therefore more appealing to investment. Additionally, some people say that the influx of foreign investment into London means that Londoners are now looking elsewhere to invest – great news for the SW!”
What business do you wish you had invented?
“Hmm, it would have to be a benefit corporation (B corp). Something with a wellbeing focus that has a really awesome culture and sense of purpose. Perhaps Divine Chocolate? They make beautifully put together Fairtrade chocolate that does a lot of good in local grower communities. They’re also based in London Bridge, one of my favourite parts of London. Plus it’s chocolate!”
And finally, what is the question you get asked the most?
“The investment question! How do I raise investment, who do you know, how does it work? But in all honesty, the most frequent question I get asked is: what is a scaleup enabler…?”