An Innovate UK EDGE Scaleup Programme company, Extreme Low Energy (ELe), was singled out for praise by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at an event in late May.
He was recognising the importance of scaleups for the UK economy, and pledged ongoing Government support for them. The UK has some 33,000 scaleups – innovative small and medium-sized businesses that are growing at a rapid rate – and they contribute more than a trillion Pounds to the economy every year.
The event, entitled ‘Enriching the community: how scaleups are a force for local renewal,’ was part of Scaleup Week. It highlighted some of the opportunities that scaleups now have, as well as challenges that they face, such as gaining access to finance.
The Prime Minister opened the online event with a message of support to the scaleup community. It is among the UK’s scaleups, he said, that: “the real magic happens – conjuring up new jobs and turbo-charging local economies.”
The Prime Minister said that he wanted to see “more companies replicating the success of Skelmersdale’s Extreme Low Energy, who are in the process of doubling their headcount, with help from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.”
Extreme Low Energy and the Scaleup Programme
Established in 2014, ELe is a multi-award-winning UK business specialising in green, low-energy lighting, heating and power. It helps its customers reduce their energy use and carbon emissions: Its work covers everything from taking power into glamping lodges in the middle of fields, to guaranteeing power in mobile COVID testing labs, to helping to reduce fuel poverty in social housing and providing innovative, low-energy LEDs for urban farming. In 2020, the company was chosen by Innovate UK EDGE for its Scaleup Programme.
ELe’s founder and CEO Mark Buchanan said: “We’re going into markets with really good, clever, disruptive technology, but the problem has been that people don’t know about us. So to be name-checked by the Prime Minister is gob-smacking. And with so many scaleup businesses doing great things, it’s humbling to be mentioned in that sort of company.”
Mark Buchanan paid tribute to the help that ELe has received as a participant on the Scaleup Programme. “Working with Innovate UK EDGE through the Scaleup Programme has been brilliant. It’s one thing to grow fast, but it can be risky. Being on the Scaleup Programme has helped us especially on the finance side: We’ve been provided with a financial mentor to help us develop a business plan. It has really helped us to see the business from the outside, prompting us to do things differently.”
The Scaleup Programme, delivered by Innovate UK EDGE, provides one-to-one, bespoke support centred around the specific needs of innovative scaleups. The Scaleup Programme is aimed at scaleups with the greatest potential – those that are disrupting their industries, that are capable of taking their products or services overseas and that are achieving – or have the potential to achieve –over 50% CAGR.
Scaleup Programme participants are given specialist help in addressing challenges that scaleups commonly face, including accessing markets and attracting growth capital.