BY Daniel Hunter

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with rapid growth potential occupy all sectors and locations in England, and can be at any stage of their lifecycle, new analysis by GrowthAccelerator, the government backed advice and support service, reveals today (Wednesday).

A common perception is that fast growth is the preserve of start-ups in technology-driven sectors. But new analysis of companies accessing the government-backed GrowthAccelerator service shows that high growth can literally come from anywhere, as long as the management team has the ambition and skills to make it happen.

The findings are revealed in GrowthAccelerator’s first annual report, which also outlines the significant uptake and impact of the service among businesses with high growth potential nationwide.

This includes:

- Over 7,000 businesses signed up since launch in May 2012
- 3,400 businesses already increasing their turnover more quickly since engaging with Growth Accelerator
- 3,100 businesses taking on more staff more quickly
- 60 per cent of clients are over five years old, one third are over 10 years old
- 110 specialist Growth Managers and over 1,000 Growth Coaches recruited to work with businesses with high growth potential

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Building a stronger more balanced economy requires businesses of all shapes and sizes to realise their growth potential. GrowthAccelerator is providing thousands of businesses with the advice and support they need to do just that.

“High growth SMEs are responsible for nearly half the job creation in the UK economy so making sure they are getting bespoke, high-quality business coaching.”

GrowthAccelerator, launched as a partnership between the government and the private sector in May last year, is now working with over 7,000 of England’s brightest businesses. Survey results suggest it is already accelerating the growth of the vast majority of these firms’ turnover and employment.

The service now has more than 1,000 growth coaches in operation across the country, and reports near 100 per cent satisfaction from the businesses it is helping (see below for further information).

Karl Eddy, Partner at Grant Thornton UK, one of the consortium firms tasked to deliver GrowthAccelerator, said: “By engaging ambitious senior management teams, GrowthAccelerator is breaking down barriers to progress, acting as a catalyst to build a new SME growth powerhouse that will create jobs and ultimately economic growth. We are delighted to report such high uptake of our service among businesses from all corners of the SME community.”

Other key findings from today’s report include:

- Still got it: High growth can be delivered at any stage of a company’s lifecycle, not just at startup.

- Urban myth: High growth companies are just as likely to be located in rural areas as in urban locations in England.

- National express: High growth capability is not the preserve of London and the South East, but a nationwide trend.

- It’s not what you do, but how you do it: GrowthAccelerator businesses are spread across all sectors — the only thing they have in common is that they are set to outperform their industry, whatever it may be.

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