Scale Up Network

For small businesses, our acclaimed network enables business leaders to meet future challenges.

What is the Scale Up Network?

The Network is a small and selected group of successful and growing scale up leaders who come together to explore common constraint issues, co-create solutions and maximise the impact of potential improvements. They benefit from the knowledge and skills of Oxford Brookes Business School, combined with external, professional, facilitated support over the course of a year.

Oxford Brookes Business School created the Scale Up Network in 2019 to enhance and develop the leadership and management capacity of local organisations. Leaders have limited management and leadership time to engage with a growing workforce. Key to unlocking future potential is ensuring that scarce time is optimised for maximum impact.

Dates: Starting Summer 2023

Further information

How it works

Each Network has 8-10 business leaders who meet 8 times over the course of a year.

A strong foundation session sets the tone for the Network, builds trust and helps participants get to know each other.

Each session has two distinct elements. The first is where members co-develop solutions to common growth and transition issues. You get the opportunity to bring a live issue for you to a session and harness the thinking and insight of your peers.

In the second part of the session, we invite in an expert - either an experienced academic in Brookes or from a scale up leader - and have a discussion and questions around based around their area(s) of expertise. In the past this has ranged from leadership styles to capital investment strategies.

Sessions are typically half a day long and in the morning. 

Who’s invited?

The scale up leaders come from organisations that should:

  • employ between 5 and 30 people and have growth potential ambitions
  • be able to demonstrate growth potential within their current business model.

The Network is aimed primarily at Oxfordshire based organisations, who will be eligible for subsided places (see costs). Non Oxfordshire based businesses are welcome to apply.

Costs

  • £400 - Oxfordshire based organisations. These places are sponsored by Scale Up Supporter businesses.
  • £750 - other organisations.

Sponsored by our Scale Up Supporters

Feedback from previous cohorts

INASP

John Young, Executive Director of The International Network for Advancing Science and Policy (INASP).

INASP works with a global network of partners, with projects spanning 25 countries. John shares:

"When I joined INASP in late 2018 it was clear that while the work the organisation was doing was important and it was doing it well, we would have to change the way we do it if we were to survive the next 5-10 years. Having the chance to discuss our evolving strategy with a wider peer-group from different organisations, and having to answer the searching questions they asked during the action-learning process strengthened the strategy and gave me confidence that we are going in the right direction."

67 Bricks

Jennifer Schivas, Head of Strategy and Industry Engagement at software development company 67 Bricks.

Jennifer says:

"Upon joining the programme we were entering a dedicated period of planned change and growth. Many of the challenges we face are related to managing the transition from “agile startup” to established small-medium business. For example, how to retain the culture that early employees loved and made us unique as we grow, how to implement appropriate lightweight processes without stifling the creativity, autonomy and agility of our staff and how to hire the best people in the extremely competitive software development space.

We joined the group with an open mind and as it was a new initiative we were not sure what to expect, we were hoping to gain:

  • The opportunity to meet and learn from business leaders in the local area who are grappling with similar issues.
  • More formal knowledge of best practice and thought leadership around business and management from the staff at Oxford Brookes
  • Some practical ideas we could take and put into action

And I am pleased to say we have gained all three. The sessions are a safe space to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by our businesses openly; this allows members to ask the right questions and really help each other get to the root of their issues.

We’re already making positive changes as a result of being part of the Scale Up group. For example we have taken specific steps to improve our hiring process, to help us retain top talent and to ensure our financial processes are robust. I have an increased confidence that as a company we are caring about and prioritising the right things and have the skills and drive to make the changes we need to grow."

67 Bricks

FAQs

If I can’t make a session, can someone else senior in my organisation substitute for me?

The trust that builds within the group is an important part of its success. For that reason we don’t allow substitutions.

What if one of my competitors is in the same Network?

We run an application process for the Network to ensure that this won’t happen. Each Network group designed to ensure diversity with no two organisations working in the same sector as competitors being in the same Network.

What other support is available to me as a growing business?

Oxford Brookes is currently expanding its offer to scaling businesses. For details of our other growth programmes please see links to Help to Grow and CEO Club below. Please contact us if you have any other ideas how we can work together to support you.

You may also be interested in OxLEP’s ERDF funded programme, eScalate

What are Scale Up Supporters and how do I become one?

Scale Up Supporters are sponsors of our Scale Up Network. Also members of our CEO Club, they enable us to provide subsidised places to small growing businesses based in Oxfordshire. 

Contact us

OBBS Business & External Engagement

obbs-bee@brookes.ac.uk

+44 (0)1865 48 57 97