What is Ascend?

ASCEND provides professional business advice and a network of support specialists to help you grow your company.

The programme funds experts and specialist professional business advisors to work with you to plan and execute your plan for growth. What’s more, Ascend offers unique access to the skills and resources from the Ascend partner community, including Derby City Council, the University of Derby and local business services, investment funds and seasoned local entrepreneurs.

Ascend has three programmes for businesses to apply for:

Ascend Growth

Provide access to high quality multi-disciplinary business support, mentoring, coaching and technical expertise to support in the development of a detailed two-year growth plan.

Ascend Investment

As per growth readiness, but with a focus on developing an investment case, in the form of an Investment Memorandum, which can then be used to begin meaningful discussions with potential equity investors.

Ascend Scale-Up
Growth Projects

A loan scheme designed to assist in supporting the physical business growth in the form of capital investment in Derby with the ultimate aim to create sustainable new jobs. This fund enables businesses to invest in projects that would not otherwise happen.

Ascend programmes can provide access to:


Bespoke business advice




Unsecured loans


Discounted workspace


Access to investors


Access to University of Derby support


Highly regarded Selection Panel of investors, entrepreneurs and professional services providers

Program Components

Whilst the creation and delivery of a growth and/or investment plan is the key deliverable for any business on the Ascend program, the journey to get there will involve the participant businesses receiving a range of high quality wraparound growth support, which may involve some or all of the following key elements, but not limited to:

Can my business apply for the Ascend programme?

There is a set criteria for being able to enter the Ascend programme, this includes the following:

Small or medium-sized enterprise

Within Derby City boundaries or within 7.5 mile radius

Been trading for 1 to 2 years and can demonstrate significant growth over that time

Ambition and ability to deliver significant growth and job creation

Our partners

British business bank
D2N2 Growth Hub
Derby City Council
Foresight Logo
Geldards Law Firm
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Marketing Derby
Mercia Logo
PKF Smith Cooper-01
University of Derby