SME Heatmap

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Sectors that Scale

Click here to discover the sectors defining economic growth

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Cities that Scale

Click here to explore the seven cities championing scale-up Britain


SME Heatmap

The 2017 Spring Budget was delivered at a pivotal moment for the British economy – with investors and businesses awaiting further advice on the nature and timing of the Brexit negotiations. With the triggering of Article 50 taking place on 29 March, this fiscal statement sought to build upon the investment initiatives announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement and delivered targeted solutions to support Britain’s scaling businesses.

During his speech, Chancellor Philip Hammond acknowledged that the UK’s economic growth in the 12 months leading up to the Budget had outpaced that of the United States, France and Japan and trailed only Germany amongst the world’s developed economies. Productivity, digital skills and infrastructure were key themes, with the Chancellor seeking to address any remaining impediments inhibiting the scalability of the UK’s dynamic private sector businesses.

The UK’s 5.5 million SMEs can find reassurance in the Budget’s commitment to re-evaluate proposed changes to business rates. Hammond highlighted that ahead of this re-evaluation, the government will commit to a package of business rates reductions totalling £9 billion, in addition to permanently doubling the rate of Small Business Rate Relief to 100%, and raising the threshold so that 600,000 small businesses are exempt from the tax. In doing so, the Budget reaffirmed to Britain’s entrepreneurs that the government considers SMEs to be a vital component of its economic agenda for Brexit.

Targeted reforms were also delivered for businesses ranging from local pubs to the digital economy. Disruptive technology companies were the beneficiaries of a £270 million investment that will ensure their operations are supported by leading investments in digital infrastructure. Chancellor Hammond also announced a further reduction in business rates for 90% of the nation’s pubs – offering a £1,000 discount on business rates bills in 2017 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000.

The 2017 Spring Budget built upon the 2016 Autumn Statement by recognising the importance of SMEs across the nation in supporting private sector growth. Britain’s bustling community of tech companies has performed significantly well over the past 12 months – contributing close to £100 million to the economy each year. Most significantly, digital tech investment has risen to £6.8 billion, 50% higher than any other European country. Demonstrating the disruptive capabilities of the UK’s regional SMEs, 72% of UK digital tech investment in 2016 was pooled into regional clusters outside of London, with, tech businesses attracting more than £9.2 billion of funding in total. Cambridge and Edinburgh are the most popular investment destination for British tech, presenting exciting prospects for scaling businesses in need of growth capital. Find out more about the UK’s disruptive industry here .

Government commitments to scaling SMEs in 2016

Prior to the Budget, the government had already enacted a series of initiatives to support local business growth. In the 2016 Autumn Statement, the government reaffirmed its commitment to the so-called ‘devolution revolution’, granting local government bodies the funding to support local business growth through targeted initiatives. Most significantly, Chancellor Hammond allocated £556 million to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the North of England, £542 million to the Midlands and East of England, and £683 million to LEPs in the South West, South East and London

Overall, the 2016 Autumn Statement championed the role of British SMEs in driving economic productivity and long-term growth. Representing 99.3% of all private businesses, SMEs generated revenue of over £1.8 trillion in 2015 – 47% of the UK’s total private sector turnover. They also represent the largest source of employment, hiring over 15.6 million people, or 60% of Britain’s total private sector workforce.

IW Capital launched in 2011 to facilitate private investment into Britain’s growing community of scale-up businesses. With 40 years’ collective experience, our private equity team has helped secure growth capital for the likes of BorrowMyDoggy, WeSwap, Square Pie and Brewhouse & Kitchen. To share the expertise we have developed, we launched the SME Heatmap: Sectors and Cities that Scale – a motion infographic profiling the regions, cities and industries driving the next ten years of SME investment.

This interactive map reveals a series of insights into how SME firms are driving change within these high-growth sectors. Moreover, the SME Heatmap, continues to be regularly updated to reflect developments in Britain’s private sector, and profiles the cities across the length and breadth of the British Isles that are providing the infrastructure to support this very progression.

This unique project forms part of IW Capital and Crowdfinders’ joint Race to Scale initiative, a £100 million funding drive dedicated solely to Britain’s scaling businesses. Launched in partnership with Crowdfinders, the UKBAA, Seedrs, SyndicateRoom, Smith & Williamson, Envestors, Crowdcube, and international crowdfunding partner Invesdor – the nationwide call for SMEs is ongoing as we source the scale-ups with immense growth potential.



Race to Scale is:

  • A £100 million funding drive – designed to help your business scale up
  • An opportunity to secure between £100,000 and £5 million in essential development finance via IW Capital
  • A chance to pitch live in front of around 500 active angel and high-net-worth investors across four events hosted this year by our sister company, Crowdfinders
  • Open to established businesses ONLY, that are Companies House-registered, that can prove their concept/product works and that they have built a strong team of employees
  • In partnership with Seedrs, SyndicateRoom, UKBAA, Crowdcube, Smith & Williamson, Invesdor, IW Capital, Angels Den, EISA, Envestors, Growthdeck, Toucan, London Launch, ifour, Crowdstacker, Money&Co.