Six leading European business schools have combined their expertise to launch the European Scaleup Institute (ESI) – a new platform which gathers academic excellence and practitioners across Europe to support scaleups, high-growth firms, governmental organisations and policymakers in addressing the scaleup gap.
Behind the Institute is Vlerick Business School (Belgium), Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) and Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship|EUR (the Netherlands), ESSEC Business School (France), ESADE Business School (Spain), Nova School of Business and Economics (Portugal) and WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management (Germany). Standing alongside these business schools is Nordic Innovation – an organisation under the Nordic Council of Ministers which promotes entrepreneurship, innovation and competitiveness in the Nordic countries.
By building upon the extensive knowledge of the six business schools’ research centres and faculty, together with Nordic Innovation’s extensive industry expertise, the Institute sets out to contribute to enabling Europe to become a leading global scaleup ecosystem through joint research and educational initiatives across borders. In this way, the Institute will offer new solutions, fresh insights and advice to tackle the structural challenges that European scaleups currently face, as well as learnings from companies who do manage to grow sustainably and persistently over time.
Veroniek Collewaert, Academic Director of the ESI and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Vlerick Business School says,
“When people talk about scaling challenges, often times the conversation is limited to talking about funding. Yet, our research shows that issues such as attracting and retaining talent, combining innovation with profitable growth, while expanding in an interconnected yet often too fragmented European ecosystem all pose significant threats to the scaling up of European businesses.
As the institutions charged with training future business leaders and shaping the future of industry, we have a responsibility to use our expertise to help overcome the challenges scaleups are currently facing and provide actionable solutions. Moreover, by joining forces we can contribute to Europe’s ambition of creating more scaleups, which is particularly relevant for some key sectors in Europe such as deep tech. Such companies can struggle in scaling up, yet given their significant societal impact it’s key that we help them do this.”
These solutions will be in the form of research – the findings of which will be directly applicable to real business challenges, as well as the creation of dedicated skills and support programmes for scaleups, and tailored toolkits that can be implemented into current businesses.
The Institute aligns the very best of European knowledge on scaleups in one, easy-access place for CEOs, founders and executives who are currently looking to grow their ventures, or with plans to do so in the near future. Both expert insights and standardised data and knowledge is brought together and made available to help scaleups succeed.
Leonardo Fuligni, Executive Director of the ESI and Deputy Director at the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship at Erasmus University Rotterdam says:
“Scaling and high-growth firms play a pivotal role in our economy as champions of innovation and job creation. Known for experimenting with new technologies, concepts and business models, startups are key to bringing innovative value to the market. However, they can only maximise their impact once they manage to scale up.
The unfortunate reality is that only a fraction of startups manage to scale up, especially in the European context. Scaling and high-growth firms also face a number of pertinent challenges as they transition from starting up, to growing up, to scaling up, and try to persist high growth over time.”
The Institute will also be hosting conferences on the scaleup landscape, presenting both academic research and discussing current trends in the topic, offering practical advice to high-growth firms, policy-makers and ecosystem builders aiming at strengthening their local climate for high-growth. The inaugural conference is being hosted on June 1st 2023, at Nova School Business and Economics, open to scaleup founders and CEOs, as well as policymakers and practitioners in the industry.