A new initiative to help ambitious Tees Valley businesses grow to their full potential is being led by Teesside University.

Eleven businesses are the first to take part in LEAP 50, an innovative programme delivered by the University and the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

The programme is a direct response to findings from the ScaleUp Institute and the Enterprise Research Centre, demonstrating the economic and social benefits that come from supporting businesses in successfully scaling up.

The ScaleUp Institute argues that our future economic prosperity is fundamentally dependent upon being a world-leading environment in which companies thrive, enabling opportunity for reach and scale and contributing positive impact for generations to come.

The fully funded programme, delivered in partnership with Tees Valley Business Compass and a network of experts, is for CEOs and business leaders whose companies demonstrate the capacity and appetite for growth.  

LEAP 50 came about following a visit to Teesside University by Sherry Coutu CBE, the chair of the ScaleUp Institute, a private sector, not-for-profit company focused on making the UK the best place in the world to scale up a business.

A report from the institute recognised that Tees Valley had a higher than average proportion of scale up businesses – companies with more than 10 employees and average annual growth of 20% or more in employees or turnover– but they were not capitalising on the opportunity to grow further.

The University worked with the Combined Authority to develop an imaginative offer for those companies, addressing those barriers that scale up businesses can face.  LEAP 50 is designed to provide knowledge, experience and personal leader development alongside practical ways of unlocking barriers to growth, enabling business leaders to meet the challenge of accelerating business growth while at the same time leading and managing it successfully.

The programme aims to help at least 50 Tees Valley companies take the next leap forward in their business.

At the inaugural workshop for the first LEAP 50 businesses at Rockliffe Hall, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement) Professor Jane Turner OBE DL, spoke about authentic leader development and leader values.

She told participants: “Being a leader is a phenomenal responsibility and an extremely privileged position to hold.

“You set the context and create the climate, which in turn determines the experience your most valuable asset, your people, have at work.

“We want to support you on this scale up journey and help your businesses to succeed, which will ultimately bring economic uplift to the Tees Valley.”

Meryl Levington, Associate Dean (Enterprise and Business Engagement) at Teesside University Business School, said: “Teesside University Business School is delighted to be working with the Combined Authority and other key regional stakeholders on the new scale up initiative, LEAP 50.

“This programme, along with other significant projects, demonstrates our shared goal of supporting business growth and economic prosperity in our region.

“LEAP 50 places companies at the heart of an experience designed to accelerate business growth and contribute to the economic ecosystem of the Tees Valley.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m a huge supporter of entrepreneurs and want to make our region the best place for invaluable small businesses to set up, grow, and achieve their potential. 

“LEAP 50 is an essential initiative to identify and assist those companies best placed to expand, which will help deliver jobs and boost our economy.

“I look forward to continuing our partnership with Teesside University and hearing of all the success stories this project will undoubtedly bring.”

The first companies taking part in LEAP 50 are:

  • Ocreas Financial North
  • Geneva Instruments
  • J&B Recycling
  • Micropore Technologies
  • Big Nasty
  • Beanies
  • Industrial and Marine Hydraulics
  • Calm Digital
  • Bespoke Financial Teesside
  • Alphatec
  • Whitewash Laboratories

For more information on Teesside University services to business visit www.tees.ac.uk/business