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29 January, 2019 - 13:37 By Tony Quested

Bleeding edge scale-up academy launched in Cambridge

Central Working, the force behind The Bradfield Centre co-working hothouse at Cambridge Science Park, has launched a market-leading scale-up academy in the UK science & technology hotspot.

A strategically honed support programme at the heart of the initiative will provide startup leaders with the innovative tools and guidance required to scale. 

The programme’s pilot will provide senior teams behind established, high growth startups with data-driven, long term scaling strategies – a resource normally only available to the largest mature businesses – and also leadership training for those that are already on the journey to scale.

If the Cambridge pilot hits the spot, Central Working intends to roll out the venture UK-wide.

The Bradfield Centre decided to kickstart the initiative in partnership with Cartezia, a growth specialist that offers a purpose-built online tool, The Triple Chasm Platform, to guide startups through their own personalised route to scale. 

The platform, using analysis from the recently published Scale-up Manual,  will analyse and diagnose each company’s current maturity, assessing factors such as current technology development, access to funding and customer profiling.

The Triple Chasm Platform will use this analysis to define how far the company can scale over the next 12 months – and provide detailed, data-driven step-by-step advice on how to reach that target, including specific recommendations on talent and funding acquisition, required improvements to commercial strategy and advised tweaks to a startup’s business model.

This data-driven advice will be matched with intensive sessions with mentors and coaches over the course of six weeks. This will provide each growth company with a ‘personalised’ roadmap and access to the collaboration platform to continue business development 12 months after the programme finishes.

Bradfield Centre managing director James Parton is also engaged in talks with Claire Ruskin – CEO of global influencer Cambridge Network – to discuss the possibility of bringing the organisation’s established School for Scale-Ups into the partnership.

The School for Scale-Ups offers a peer group programme to improve leadership and get the best from fast-growing teams and its modules have been used by many of Cambridge’s most successful global growth companies including ARM, Raspberry Pi, Horizon Discovery, Repositive, Audio Analytic, Spectral Edge – a Bradfield Centre tenant – Babraham Biosciences, Astex, Ieso Digital, Undo, Healx, Owlstone Medical, RealVNC and others. Participants receive training on personal leadership, influencing, effective communication, achieving a high performance culture, managing poor performance, negotiation and more.

The Bradfield Centre
The Bradfield Centre

James Parton 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. 

“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. We are still keen to offer the traditional benefits of cohort learning with practical hands-on teaching of tools and techniques as well, to help all types of leadership teams.”

Uday Phadke, chief executive of Cartezia, added: “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.”

Claire Ruskin, chief executive of Cambridge Network, says: “We believe in the power of the collective and think our School for Startups could significantly add to this excellent proposal.

“Our School for Scale-Ups has proved very popular with Cambridge companies for learning tools that people may vaguely understand but not always use well – this gives peer to peer practice that makes a big difference to the way high culture teams perform. The rhythm of one short day per six weeks fits well with very busy people trying to grow a business.”

Claire Ruskin

The Central Working Academy is now open to the leadership teams of any growth company. Applications for the inaugural Scale-up Academy can be submitted via  

The deadline for applications is February 15 and successful applicants will be notified within three days.

• While talks between Bradfield and Cambridge Network are ongoing about broadening the Academy initiative, independent applications for the School for Scale-Ups can be submitted to learning [at] – or you can call 01223 760131.  

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