SOUTHAMPTON and the Solent have 815 fast-growing companies that can help the economic recovery from Covid-19, research has suggested.

Such businesses employ 57,749 people and generate £7.7billion in turnover.

The figures come form analysis by the ScaleUp Institute, the not-for-profit business which exists to promote the scaling-up of businesses.

A scaleup business is defined as one that has grown its turnover or employment by 20 per cent a year over a three-year period.

But the ScaleUp Institute has warned that such businesses need support to remove a range of barriers that could challenge their long-term growth.

Its chief executive, Irene Graham, said: “Scaleups have remained resilient in the face of the Covid-19 emergency and continue to be critical to local economies with many still planning to grow.

“But this is no time for complacency, with scaleups citing challenges on accessing markets and appropriate finance dialling up, as they face into the uncertainties that Covid and Brexit create,” she added.

“We must double down on efforts to create a supportive environment or risk losing the benefit of their enterprise and productivity.

“And that would be a huge loss as scaleups are 54 per cent more productive than other businesses, twice as likely to offer apprenticeships, are more than twice as innovative, and, significantly, they create high quality jobs.

“Now is the time to also bring on those firms that are in the ‘pipeline’ – whose performance puts them just outside the definition of a scaleup – of which there are 385 in Solent.

“In Solent, scaleup leaders particularly highlight access to UK markets, access to international markets and access to infrastructure/premises and broadband as key issues.

“We recognise that Solent offers a number of services for scaleups, which we will continue to monitor in how they are addressing their concerns,” she said.

The ScaleUp Institute also carried out research with Arup to understand what factors most influenced the local growth of scaleups.

It found the three key factors were access to equity finance, access to skills and the existence of “clusters” in the same sector.