DORSET has 365 fast-growing companies that can help the economic recovery from Covid-19, it is claimed.

Such businesses employ 26,692 and generate £3.1billion 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 is defined as a business 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. 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 195 in Dorset.

“In Dorset scaleup leaders particularly highlight access to talent, access to UK markets, and access to infrastructure/premises and broadband as key issues. We recognise that Dorset offers a number of services for scaleups, which we will continue to monitor in how they are addressing their concerns.”

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.

Nick Gregory, operations director at Dorset Growth Hub said: “Scaleup growth in Dorset is vital to the economic recovery post Covid; every crisis brings opportunity, in particular in local growth sectors of manufacturing and engineering.

“The Dorset Growth Hub provides a range of support to businesses seeking to scale up. Let’s all work together to drive Dorset forward.”