UK 'Scaleups' - an important presence in public procurement

There are 35,000 enterprises across the UK that have been growing 20% per year for three years, and these 'scaleups' are the engine of the UK economy. Winning a public contract can often be the vital 'anchor customer' for these growing businesses, giving them the foundation on which to continue to build. Together with our partners the Scaleup Institute, we've examined the extent to which the public sector is integrating these firms in its supply chains.

Our inaugural Scaleup Public Procurement Index identifies those scaleups that are currently participating in public sector supply chains, the number and size of contracts they are winning and the buyers with which they are engaging. This research, to be updated annually at a minimum, will serve to provide an evidence base for encouraging further public sector engagement with these firms through their procurement processes.

Overall we find that already scaleups are punching above their weight in this sector, winning more contracts per supplier than SMEs on average and some particularly high value contracts. However it also shows that there is also plenty more that could be done, particularly at the Central Government level, to support the growth of these firms. Read on for the highlights, or enter your details at the bottom of the page to get the full report. 


Scaleups punching above their weight

Between July 2017 and June 2018, 397 scaleups won a total of 1,415 contracts from the wider public sector. Although these Scaleups accounted for a modest proportion of all contracts awarded in this time, the value of the contracts they are winning is relatively high, especially in comparison to SMEs.

Proportion of award value

Scaleups are winning a relatively high proportion of overall award value in comparison to the number of contracts they are winning. In 2017/18 scaleups won a similar proportion of contract award value and volume - around 2% of the total for each. In contrast, SMEs won nearly half of all contracts but only 12% of total award value, a clear illustration that scaleups are being entrusted with relatively large awards.

Scaleups donuts

More contracts per supplier

Those scaleups who are participating in the public sector supply chain are also more deeply involved than the average SME, winning an average of 3.6 contracts per supplier, compared to the SME average of 2.1 contracts per supplier.

Bubble chart Scaleups

Scaleups winning large awards

Scaleups are also entrusted with a proportionally larger number of big contracts than SMEs. They won four contracts worth £100m+ during this period in comparison to SMEs' six. This despite the fact that a far greater overall volume of contracts was awarded to SMEs in this period.

Scaleups bars

If the government is serious about their policy to diversify the public sector supply chain, it would do well to look towards some of the country's fastest growing and best performing businesses, who are already being entrusted with important public contracts. However, with only 1% of all UK scaleups participating in public procurement, there is clearly plenty of room for better integration of these firms. Our full report explores further the value and volume of contracts awarded to scaleups, and examines which buyers are engaging with these firms, in which regions they are most successful, and the sectors in which they are working.

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