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Central Working Academy pilot launched at Bradfield Centre to help start-ups scale

A pilot scheme has been launched at the Bradfield Centre on Cambridge Science Park to help provide leadership teams of start-ups with the tools and guidance they need to scale.

James Parton, The Bradfield Centre's managing director. Picture: Keith Heppell
James Parton, The Bradfield Centre's managing director. Picture: Keith Heppell

The Central Working Academy will provide data-driven, long-term scaling strategies of a kind normally only available to large, mature businesses.

It has been launched by workspace provider Central Working, which operates the Bradfield Centre, the £20million deep tech hub established in partnership with Science Park owner Trinity College, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. If the pilot is successful, Central Working will roll out the programme across its UK network.

The academy’s first content partner is Cartezia and the initial 12-month pilot will deploy the growth specialist’s online tool, The Triple Chasm Platform, to guide start-ups through a “personalised route to scale”.

The platform is based partly on advice in the recently published Scale-up Manual, and will analyse and diagnose each company’s current maturity, assessing factors such as current tech development, access to funding and customer profiling.

UK start-ups consider developing leadership and management skills as one of their top three priorities as they seek growth, behind access to talent and finance markets, according to research from the Scaleup Institute.

Central Working’s James Parton, managing director of the Bradfield Centre, said: “The traditional intervention support model relies heavily on the advice of mentors and coaches, and while this is clearly still relevant, it’s an analogue solution in a digital world.

“The Central Working Academy heralds the next generation of intervention support, providing a programme rooted in research and experience and powered by an advanced data-driven online platform.

James Parton outside The Bradfield Centre. Picture: Keith Heppell
James Parton outside The Bradfield Centre. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Central Working has always provided a nurturing environment for business growth and this is the next iteration of our offer, guiding management teams towards the specific actions they need to take to scale at a rapid rate.”

The Triple Chasm Platform will use the analysis of a company’s maturity to define how far it can scale over the next 12 months. Detailed, data-driven step-by-step advice on how to reach the target will be provided, including specific recommendations on talent and funding acquisition, required improvements to commercial strategy and advisable changes to a start-up’s business model.

Intensive sessions with mentors and coaches over six weeks will also be provided, giving each growth company with a “personalised roadmap”, along with access to the collaboration platform to continue business development for a year after the programme finishes.

Leadership teams of any growth company can now apply for the inaugural Scale-Up Academy via cartezia.com/page/the-scaleup-academy. The deadline is February 15 and successful applicants will be notified by February 18.

Uday Phadke, chief executive of Cartezia, said: “Cartezia’s platform provides a unique, integrated collaboration and learning environment for growth businesses based on the detailed research, tools and insights described in The Scale-up Manual, which was published to rave reviews in 2018.

“The academy integrates a data-driven platform, experienced coaches and mentors, and structured access to scale-up eco-systems.

“The effectiveness of the Scale-up Academy depends on working with a strategic partner who can provide the right environment and access to the local ecosystem including potential partners, suppliers and investors: Cartezia is delighted to be working with Central Working to achieve this.”

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