escalator programme common themes WEB

“ScaleUp leaders continue to highlight the importance of meeting peers who are growing at pace. Well organised peer-to-peer networks and high-quality mentors are the most prized leadership interventions. This is reinforced again in our 2018 survey where 6 in 10 scaleup leaders place peer networks as the most important guidance to their future growth. The number of peer-to-peer programmes is growing in the UK, with many run locally as standalone offerings or as part of hubs and broader leadership programmes.” – ScaleUp Institute 


Businesses in the Coast to Capital area that have the potential and ambition to grow, have been taking part in the innovative Coast to Capital Escalator Programme. 

The programme supports scale up businesses to achieve their potential through a series of facilitated peer to peer groups, which focuses on a barrier to growth with a solution driven outcome. The scheme is being delivered in partnership with the MDHUB, a business network that supports leaders to develop through groups of like-minded peers where they find the solutions and support they need. The model, which is highly recommended by the ScaleUp Institute has supported over 40 businesses across five cohorts in the area so far with the cost to each business at only £100 per month.

Support has been centred on a number of common themes including leadership, sales and marketing, and planning for growth which has been facilitated by a number of local experts.

Fiona Shafer, MD at MDHUB said: 
“This pilot programme is providing a great platform for us to bespoke the peer discussions to the MD’s needs and to experiment with new business tools as well.”

Business supported
Simon Pringle, CEO at Red River said: “There is a real depth of experience and energy in my group and it has been brilliant to get that experience focussed on providing real advice from people who have done it. The highs, lows, the triumphs and difficulties are all discussed in the meeting with gravitas and humour and it is brilliant to exchange ideas clever and motivated people.”

Helen Bailey, Facilitator at MDHUB said: “This programme is enormously beneficial in bringing local business owners together to share experiences and advice on how to build and grow their businesses - expanding their network and their minds.” 

Business supported
Lisa Kerr, COO at Man Bites Dog said: “Each of us is committed to helping others in our cohort to drive growth in their amazing businesses through the different skills and experiences we can share, while taking the same learnings back to our own business. I feel privileged to be part of such a lovely group.”

Rob Day, Facilitator at MDHUB said: “The breadth and depth of knowledge, experience and goodwill that peer-to-peer groups can nurture never fails to impress me – especially in environments like this where everyone is prepared to drop their guards and speak with real honesty in order to be supportive to one another. The potential for growth through support and knowledge sharing with fellow peers like this is always inspiring to be part of.”    

Business supported
Jack Bedell-Pearce, MD at 4D said: “Running a medium-sized business comes with unique challenges, and it’s been liberating to be able to share experiences and knowledge with people in a similar position. Every meeting throws up constructive ideas on how we can improve our companies and for me personally, it’s already led to some positive changes for my business.”

Annabel Shilton, Facilitator at MDHUB said: “It’s exciting and motivating to sit amongst a group of entrepreneurs who show drive, positivity and resilience but who also want to share and partner with each other to support, offer insight and wisdom so that everyone can succeed in their business. It’s both humbling and refreshing to observe.”

Business supported
Luke Mead, MD at LMS Group said: “I’ve never been involved in peer-to-peer groups before so it was a real experience for me. There is such a wealth of experience and understanding in the cohort and the support from Coast to Capital with their free diagnostic tools and my Account Manager has been brilliant. I’m sure it’s going to help me grow my business much faster.”

Phil Ashford, Facilitator at MDHUB said: “It was great to see the level of empathy and understanding from each business owner on each other’s issues around growth. There is already a  developing trust and openness which will lead to some tangible results as the programme continues.”

Business supported
Ana Christie, CEO at Sussex Chamber said: “I’m excited to be on the Escalator Programme. Many of us face barriers to growth, so it’s great to receive fantastic guidance from peers with innovative solutions and ideas to develop the business. A wonderful way to review processes, structure and systems within the organisation. Understanding your customers is key.”


Visit the Coast to Capital website at 

Visit the MDHUB website at 

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