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Internal & External Drivers of High Growth Firms


The importance of scale-up of firms in entrepreneurial ecosystems has led to increased focus on scalers’ characteristics and antecedents. To this end, The Evidence Network Inc. and Finnish partner 4FRONT Oy have completed an evaluation of the Nordic Scalers Programme that operates under the auspices of Nordic Innovation. One component of the evaluation was a comprehensive literature review and multi-country examination of scale-ups and the programmes that support them. Citing more than 100 papers and scale-up support programmes from the academic and grey literature, the review identifies the incidence and characteristics of scale-ups, the nature of successful support programmes, and best practices for the evaluation of programmes supporting high growth firms.


Most importantly, for scale-up support programmes, our review reveals that researchers are challenged in identifying, a priori, the factors that lead to high growth – a pre-requisite for selection of entrepreneurs and firms that most merit support to ensure their early and disproportionate contribution to wealth and job creation. Without a better understanding of the nuanced factors that lead to high growth, identifying the firms that are capable of scaling-up is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, making provision of effective support to such rare firms far more challenging.


Download the literature review: Characteristics of scale-ups and the impact of scale-up support programmes


Download the full-evaluation report: Mini-evaluation of the Nordic Scalers Programme


Download a summary of the meeting of scale-up experts: Scale-up Experts Meet in Brussels

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