Growth Builder presents its first cohort of graduates and announces expansion plans

Growth Builder, the business growth programme designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, has today announced the graduation of its first cohort.

Growth Builder, the business growth programme designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, has today announced the graduation of its first cohort. 40 high-growth business leaders have spent the past 12 months working on their business, not just in it, gaining vital knowledge to help them scale.


  • Businesses leaders focussed on gaining the knowledge to take on their next growth challenge
  • During the past 12 months participants on the programme have won industry awards, sold businesses and raised over £10m of investment
  • High approval ratings with 9 out of 10 participants saying they would recommend Growth Builder to other small business leaders
  • The London-based programme attracted participants from across the UK and is planning a regional roll out over the coming year

The first of its kind to work with Government, universities, entrepreneurs, risk capital and leading UK corporates, Growth Builder has been built specifically to help established British businesses that want to take on the next stage of growth.  Growth Builder offers a curated peer network, an educational programme tailored to ambitious business leaders and access to introductions and networks through its cross sector partners.

The cohort includes businesses from the tech, manufacturing and retail sectors, such as building products company Simco External Framing (West Midlands) and well-known social network Mumsnet (London). Over the past 12 months they have spent time learning about, and challenging each other on, a range of topics including company vision, culture, building teams and strategy. During the programme, members of the cohort have been acquired, won industry awards and raised over £10m of investment.

Growth Builder was the first time UK Government, entrepreneurs, universities and leading corporates joined forces to help scale British businesses. The programme has been designed by Natwest, PWC, Department for International Trade, PIE Mapping, UCL, Fast Growth Icons, BT, the UK Business Angels Association and Loughborough University London. Growth Builder also counts a number of successful entrepreneurs as Ambassadors including Brent Hoberman, Sherry Coutu, Sarah Wood and Simon Devonshire, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Growth Builder is now looking to recruit a second cohort in London during 2nd quarter 2017 and hopes to launch elsewhere in the UK later in the year, with the North East and South West of England among the potential locations. Growth Builder is actively seeking potential sponsors, university partners and future participants as it expands across the country and welcomes all expressions of interest.

Interested business leaders can register at

Ben Fletcher, Chairman of Growth Builder, commented: “It has been really gratifying to have so many high quality companies on the programme, and a privilege to have met so many of them over the last year. I hope that the topics they have been learning about, and the connections they have made, form the foundations of their on-going growth and success.”

Jennifer Newton, Managing Director of Express Microbiology (West Lothian, Scotland): “Growth Builder gave me the space and practical tools to improve on my people strategy within the business.  This has allowed me to re-evaluate and improve the company’s future strategies and ensure the business is in a place to continue its rapid growth.”

Nick Churchill-Evans, Director of cloudThing Ltd (Stourbridge, West Midlands): “The programme has been really useful providing food for thought and practical, professional development that has had measurable impact on my business.”

Rosie Caley, Director of BasementWorks (Wandsworth, SW London): “I feel privileged to have been a part of Growth Builder and to have met such a wide range of business owners and entrepreneurs. It has provided me with a fresh perspective on my company, its place and direction within the industry, and critically, what I can do to build a successful and rewarding growth business.”

Jon Cornwell, CEO of Newsflare (Farringdon, North London): “Growth builder created the space for me to think about my business and then added in two crucial ingredients: other business owners facing similar challenges and insightful sessions on a range of topics to unlock faster growth. I finish the course wiser, with a richer network and a renewed hunger for learning.”

Notes for editors

About Growth Builder

Growth Builder is a national support programme for high-potential growth businesses backed by a consortium of large corporations, government agencies, universities, entrepreneurs and investors.

It offers a 9-12 month programme of support to leaders of small businesses that helps to address specific barriers to growth, enabling them to develop their companies creating jobs and earnings. The progamme was developed by the partners from their experience of the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP), which helps regions to foster economic growth and was developed by MIT.

Growth Builder was launched in 2016 with a cohort based in London that attracted applications from across the UK and the programme is now looking to respond by recruiting and delivering cohorts in the UK regions over the next 12-18 months.

About NatWest

NatWest is part of RBS. RBS is a UK-based banking and financial services company, headquartered in Edinburgh. RBS provides a wide range of products and services to personal, commercial and large corporate and institutional customers through its two main subsidiaries, The Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest, as well as through a number of other well-known brands including Ulster Bank and Coutts.

About PWC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We are a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 223,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services.

PwC’s Private Business team are private business specialists with over 16,000 private business, family business and entrepreneur clients, with more dedicated specialists on the ground than any other firm. We can help you spot opportunities for growth, manage risk, save money and create value and will work with you to put all the pieces together. We are focused on building long term relationships, based on honesty, trust and commitment and work with our clients through the ups and downs.

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 20161, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,012m with reported profit before taxation of £2,907m. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

The results for the period have been revised to reflect the outcome of the investigation into our Italian business. Detail of which is set out in our third quarter results announcement published on 27 January 2017. This financial information is unaudited.

About UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. We were the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world's top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has over 35,000 students from 150 countries and over 11,000 staff. Our annual income is more than £1bn.

About Loughborough University London

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme and named the best university in the world to study sports-related subjects in the 2017 QS World University Rankings. Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the latest thinking.

About the Department for International Trade

The Department for International Trade (DIT) are responsible for promoting British trade across the world and ensuring the UK takes advantage of the huge opportunities open to us. It incorporates the former UKTI. DIT also encourages and supports overseas companies to look at the UK as the best place to set up or expand their business and offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world.

About the UK Business Angel Association

The UK Business Angels Association is the national trade association representing angel and early stage investment in the UK.  Each year private investors account for circa £1.5 billion of early stage investment in the UK – the single largest source of early stage capital in this country. The UK Business Angels Association represents and connects all those involved in the angel investment market, including early stage VC funds, Banks and also non traditional sources of finance, as well as advisers and intermediaries; policy makers and academics with a view to ensuring a coherent ecosystem for financing the growth of start-up and early stage businesses. The trade association has a number of roles:

  • Building and Connecting the Angel Ecosystem
  • The Voice of the Angel Community to Government and Policy Makers
  • Improving Quality, Standards and Education
  • Resource for Market Intelligence and Thought Leadership
  • Providing Access to Quality Dealflow

About PIE Mapping

PIE Mapping is creating a vehicle management and commercial vehicle journey planning platform for any person or business that has to manage drivers, vehicles and customer orders. This is being delivered for DPD UK (PIE for Delivery).  This includes our Smart City offering PIE for Construction which navigates HGVs, minimising the likely collisions with cyclist. This is being delivered for Canary Wharf Group Southbank Place project. Our mission is to provide a solution that every business with a fleet can afford, easily use, and access time dependent information to increase efficiency.

PIE is the winner of Last Mile Labs, runner up on Cognicity Transport Challenge.  Selected Technation200 company for 2015 and City AM LEAP 100 fast growth business for 2016.   PIE was acquired by DPD during the Growth Builder first cohort programme

About Fast Growth Icons

Fast Growth Icons events are for growth businesses that help the founders understand the challenges they will face as they scale. The event focuses on the hurdles to be overcome to reach £100m+ of revenue. The events are founded in the belief that it is the quality of your execution, not the quality of your ideas that matter most in creating a successful business.

Lead contact information

Laura Parker, Director, Growth Builder

Mobile: 07788415985
Twitter: @GrowthBuilderUK