Scale up your SME in Europe!

How to build an efficient and sustainable support scheme for scale-ups

If we take for granted that an ecosystem is “A digital ecosystem is a distributed, adaptive, open socio-technical system with properties of self-organisation, scalability and sustainability inspired from natural ecosystems. Digital ecosystem models are informed by knowledge of natural ecosystems, especially for aspects related to competition and collaboration among diverse entities”. As far as SCALE(up)ALPS project is concerned, the ecosystem is where it all happens.

But 5 main drivers have to  be tackled simultaneously to drive growth forward


Specific public support schemes have to be designed and implemented . here is a proposal form pilot SCALE(up)ALPS project, with “stress tests” on the 5 different criteria. How?

  • Identify the relevant targets: Not all start-ups are equally designed to scale up quickly enough, raise money, go international and crush competition. Only the most promising ones have a better chance to compete successfully (ex: PASS French Tech in Provence Cote d’Azur Region). SCALE(up)ALPS targets must comply with OECD definition (P1). The first step is therefore to check which companies are “SCALE(up)ALPS compliant” in each of the partners’ territories.
  •  Understand the targets’ needs. A VC cannot be regarded only as a well-stuffed wallet, or a new share holder. Investment is obviously a key factor, but it is what a company makes out of it which must be the focal point of all survey on Start-ups, future Scale-Ups. In November 2017, SKEMA’[1]s conference “Le rôle de l’immatériel dans l’innovation”[2] put into light the fact that not all CEOs want their company to expand at the speed of light, that financial issue comes third after recruitment and business development, and finally that raising money is not an end, but a means that must be initiated at the right moment and for legitimate reasons. For all these reasons, selection depends deeply on how much each partner knows about its ecosystem.
  • Design the relevant schemes – All SCALE(up)ALPS partners contributed to a global Alpine Space benchmark and identification of Scale-ups acceleration schemes best practices. All schemes selected by each partner have been assesses through a series of 5 criteria, leading to CCINCA proposal of a 3-part scale-up dedicated scheme to be presented to the project’s partners. Then, co-conception with stakeholders & sponsors can be seen as a way to ensure sustainability.
  • Select a test population: Among the identified target group (1), not all Start-ups are meant to be interested by an acceleration program for many legitimate reasons. Selection of 100 scalable Start-ups among all SCALE(up)ALPS’ partners (T3.3) means a mere 15 targets at the most per partner
  • Communicate, inform, disseminate:


Alpine Space Best practices analysis


  • A total of seventeen acceleration best practices have been collected between September and November 2017. A specific matrix has been sent to all partners in order for them to identify, describe and assess the most relevant local acceleration schemes. Four critical and unbiased criteria facilitated the evaluation of the identified schemes by each partner on a 1-5 scale.



  • A significant example of an acceleration program: “NITRO SCALE(up)ALPS pilot –
    • First NITRO event: Sophia Antipolis April 26th - “HR & talent”


  • Organisation & Action plan

Taylor 3 S.M.A.R.T full-fledged pilot-support schemes for at least 4 Alpine Space regions allowing Scale-ups to better access three decisive fields: talent & leadership, new domestic and foreign market opportunities and accurate funding sources.”

To know more, download full methodology


[1] SKEMA is a leading business school with campuses in Paris, Sophia Antipolis, Brazil, China and the U.S

[2] “Evaluation of intangible assets in innovation”