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Growth Builder announces first cohort

Growth Builder, the business growth programme designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, has today announced the first cohort of 48 businesses selected to participate in the 12-month programme.

The first of its kind to work with Government, universities including Loughborough, entrepreneurs and leading UK corporates, Growth Builder has been built specifically to help established British businesses that want to take on the next stage of growth.

The cohort consists of businesses from a range of sectors including Digital and Technology (32%), Professional Services (17%), Construction (10%), Manufacturing (8%) and Wholesale and Retail trade (8%) with full-time, permanent staff ranging between two and 232 (the average number of FTEs is 40). On average the businesses taking part are hitting £4.5m revenue a year, and are looking to take on the next growth challenge.

Companies taking part were picked based on existing proven successes and their potential for further growth by a panel of esteemed industry experts, including David Chapman at the UCL (University College London) School of Management; Paola Cuneo at UKTI, and Alistair Brew at Business Growth Fund. The panel was looking for businesses with either £1.5m revenue or 20 staff and that have grown by more than 20% per year for the past two years.

The 48 businesses will enjoy unrivalled access to Government, university innovation, corporate expertise, investors and successful entrepreneurs, including programme ambassadors like Brent Hoberman (lastminute.com, made.com, Founders Forum and Founders Factory), Sherry Coutu CBE (Founders4Schools), Sarah Wood (Unruly) and Ed Wray (Betfair). Dale Murray CBE (Sussex Place Ventures), Simon Devonshire OBE (Entrepreneur in residence at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Glen Calvert (Affectv), Brynne Herbert (MOVE Guides) and Neill Ricketts (Versarien plc) are the latest successful entrepreneurs to join the programme as ambassadors.

The programme has been designed by UCL, Natwest, UKTI, BT, PIE Mapping, Fast Growth Forum, the UK Business Angels Association and Loughborough University. This is the first time Government, entrepreneurs, universities and leading UK corporates have joined forces to help British growth businesses.

The programme kicks off on 4th May when the cohort will meet for the first workshop and networking drinks.

Ben Fletcher, chairman of Growth Builder, commented: “Since launching the Call for Applications in February, we’ve been delighted with the calibre and number of applications received. This programme was built because we believed there was a need to help already established businesses achieve their next level of growth – be that launching into a new sector, geography or attracting big contracts. On average applicants were already hitting revenues of £4.5m, backing our belief.

“We’re looking forward to bringing together the first cohort with Government, universities, entrepreneurs and leading UK corporates at the first workshop on 4th May.”

Sherry Coutu CBE, serial entrepreneur and investor, commented: "In my 2014 Scale-Up Report we identified a need to support rapidly expanding ‘scale-up’ companies to create a significant proportion of the UK’s economic growth; RBS analysis suggested an additional 238,000 jobs and £38 billion additional turnover is possible if we reverse the ‘scale up gap’.

“In this report I called for Government, entrepreneurs, educators, investors and large corporates to work together to support these businesses. With this in mind, it’s great to see the launch of an initiative like Growth Builder and I look forward to working with the 48 businesses over the coming 12 months and to celebrating every single job they create by fulfilling more and more customers’ orders from all over the world in coming years.”