Past Event

From start-up to scale-up: fueling growth firms in Europe

While there has been an increased policy focus on start-ups, few of these firms are able to survive and grow longer term. It is the high-growth businesses, ones that are able to scale-up, which create jobs and economic growth, drive innovation and improve societies. What are the barriers for young innovative firms to scale up and how can they be addressed?

Date: September 29, 2015, 12:30 pm Topic:

This event started with a presentation from Sherry Coutu, the principal author of a recent UK report The Scale Up Report on UK Economic Growth. In the report, a ‘scale-up’ is defined as an enterprise with more than 10 employees at the beginning of the observation period which achieves average annualised growth in employees or turnover greater than 20 per cent per annum over a three year period. The report makes a number of recommendations for enabling UK scale up growth.

Her talk was followed by a presentation from Dr Thomas Hellmann of a framework developed to analyse the challenges facing firms from start-up through scale-up. He will also discuss the initial findings from a recent Entrepreneurship Policy Roundtable on financing growth at Said Business School in Oxford (in partnership with Bruegel and QCC).

The objective of this event was to have a dialogue between policy makers, practitioners and academics about the challenges posed by the so-called ‘scale-up’ problem – with a particular focus on financing challenges. This included taking a critical look at current financing barriers for scaling companies, and the possible ways in which public policy may help to address this issue.


Event Materials

Sherry Coutu’s Presentation

Background reading

The Scale Up Report on UK Economic Growth | Report by Sherry Coutu
How to unleash the financing of high growth firms in Europe | Blog post by Karen E. Wilson
High Growth Firms and Job Creation in Europe | Blog post by Diogo Machado and  Karen E. Wilson
Policy lessons from financing innovative firms | External publication by Karen E. Wilson



Sep 29, 2015


Registration and sandwich lunch



Sherry Coutu, Entrepreneur, Investor and Non-Executive Director



Thomas Hellmann, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Saïd School of Business, Oxford University


Discussion and Audience Q+A

Chair: Karen E. Wilson, Former Non-resident Fellow

Dörte Höppner, Chief Executive, Invest Europe


Sherry Coutu

Entrepreneur, Investor and Non-Executive Director

Thomas Hellmann

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Saïd School of Business, Oxford University

Dörte Höppner

Chief Executive, Invest Europe

Karen E. Wilson

Former Non-resident Fellow

Location & Contact

Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels

Matilda Sevón

[email protected] +32 2 227 4212