The Ascend Programme

Ascend Overview

Ascend is designed to assist the most promising Derby businesses to prepare and implement growth plans, and where appropriate support them in securing investment.

The aim of the scheme is to develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Derby to make it a great place to establish and grow a business.


To make Derby a great place to establish and grow a business, creating high-quality sustainable jobs, whilst diversifying and supporting the local economy.


  • A dynamic partnership driven approach, which focuses on the needs of the business rather than the providers.
  • A collaborative mix of funding, business support, mentoring, expert skills & workspace.
  • Criteria based entry and selection.


A Derby City Council and University of Derby collaboration, collectively taking responsibility for the identification and orchestration of resources, assets and relationships, that in combination enable the business program to deliver its goals.


Targeting companies at different stages of the development lifecycle into business support streams. Participant companies access the support required to grow successfully, in turn significantly increasing their contribution to jobs and the economy.

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.

Can I apply my business 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
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Geldards Law Firm
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Marketing Derby
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PKF Smith Cooper-01
University of Derby