I wrote last year about a Wharton study that saw entrepreneurial alumni quizzed to learn just what it was that they most needed from venture capitalists. Rather than money per se, the most popular response was the connections that such people tend to bring with them.
Nowhere is this more so than when expanding overseas. An innovative British project is hoping to provide the kind of connections and mentoring to support startups in that ambition.
The venture, operated by Innovate UK and called Entrepreneur Missions, is supporting up to 20 high potential startups and helping them to expand overseas. They’re providing a range of support, including:
- network building
- knowledge and insights into trading overseas
- support with pitching to investors
The theory is that this kind of expertise is often lacking in a startup, so the InnovateUK team can provide an invaluable service. The venture is backed and funded by the UK Trade and Investment and has already seen a number of trips overseas, including cleantech missions to Brazil and digital missions to Bangalore.
The initial results from the Missions have been very positive, with the majority of the companies supported experiencing some strong results after their support from the project.
Report on scaling up a startup
The challenges involved in scaling up a startup were also the subject of a recently published report by Sherry Couto. She defines a ‘scaleup’ as an enterprise that’s growing by an average of 20% a year over a three year period.
She identifies five distinct challenges to achieving this level of growth:
- Finding employees to hire who have the skills they need
- Building their leadership capability
- Accessing customers in other markets/home market
- Accessing the right combination of finance
- Navigating infrastructure
Ms Coutu is stopping by the Digital Catapult in London on the 7th October to discuss growth in startups and how it can be achieved. It’s an interesting report and should be an interesting event for anyone that’s looking to grow their business.
You can sign up for it here.