WHO CAN HELP ME?
Structural support during the process
Administrative and structural support
- COMPANIES HOUSE
You must contact Companies House if your new business is to be either a limited company or a limited liability partnership (LLP). Limited companies and LLPs must be registered as legal entities with Companies House before they can start trading (this is known as incorporation)
- VALUATION OFFICE AGENCY
You should contact the local authority responsible for the area/s in which your business will operate to check whether you will be liable for business rates and whether you require a licence or planning permission
- LOCAL AUTHORITY
If you are planning a change of use or extension to a business premises, or if you are starting your business from home, you should also check with your local authority’s planning department about whether planning permission is required.
To find your local authority and the relevant contact details go to: www.local.direct.gov.uk
- JOBCENTRE PLUS
If you are claiming a benefit such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, you must inform Jobcentre Plus as soon as you start your business because it is likely to affect your entitlement to benefit. You can do this by telephoning your local Jobcentre. For a directory of Jobcentres and Jobcentre Plus offices go to
- ENVIRONMENT AGENCY
Your business may have to comply with specific environmental legislation, depending on what activities are involved. If your businesses handles waste, produces emissions, or discharges anything other than uncontaminated surface water you should contact the appropriate national environmental regulator to check whether it needs to be registered or obtain a permit or licence
- INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS OFFICE
If your business processes personal data, for example if you have a customer database, you need to register (notify) as a data controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), unless an exemption exists, for example if your business is not-for-profit
- OFFICE OF FAIR TRADING
If your business provides credit or lends money to customers you must be licensed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). There are different licence categories for different activities and you need to apply for a licence in the appropriate category. Applications can be made online. For more information, go to
- THE BRITISH LIBRARY’S BUSINESS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CENTRE¬†holds an extensive catalogue of books, newspapers, journals and patents. Online research guidance is available.
Tel: (020) 7412 7901
THE OFFICE FOR NATIONAL STATISTICS (ONS)¬†provides free access to data including that produced by Government departments.
Tel: 0845 601 3034
- THE BRITISH LIBRARY¬†has a comprehensive business collection in its Business and Intellectual Property Centre. For further information go to www.bl.uk/bipc/dbandpubs/busres
- (HMRC) provides free trade data and statistics about UK imports and exports through its UK Trade Info website www.uktradeinfo.com
CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
- BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
The BCC provides a wide range of business services in areas such as exporting, training, information and representation. It acts as a voice representing member businesses in their regions. It lobbies ministers and other organisations to improve trading conditions for its members.
Find local Chambers of Commerce by using the website below.
British Chambers of Commerce
Oak Tree Court
Binley Business Park
Harry Weston Road
Tel: (024) 7669 4484
Fax: (024) 7669 5844
¬†ORGANISATIONS THAT WORK IN THIS FIELD
- ENTERPRISE QUEST¬†For practical start up and small business tips, ideas and news, go to:
- SCAVENGER¬†To access hundreds of practical factsheets, market reports and small business guides, go to:
- THE NATIONAL ENTERPRISE NETWORK REPRESENTS¬†Local Enterprise Agencies (LEAs) in England.
Tel: (01234) 831623
- THE INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS CONSULTING (IBC)¬†is a professional membership organisation for business advisers and consultants. Their website includes a facility to search a national register of consultants and information on how to find a business adviser.
Tel: (020) 7497 0580
- THE NATIONAL ENTERPRISE NETWORK IS¬†a network of independent enterprise agencies. Their website has a directory that can help you locate your local enterprise agency.
Tel: (01234) 831623
- BUSINESS LINK¬†delivers support and information to new and existing businesses in England.
Tel: 0845 600 9006
- LEARNDIRECT¬†provides business skills training at local learning centres and online.
- THE PRINCE’S TRUST HELPS¬†young people aged 18-30 who are unemployed or under-employed to start up in business.
Tel: (020) 7543 1234
- THE PRINCE’S SCOTTISH YOUTH BUSINESS TRUST (PSYBT)¬†provides start up advice, financial assistance and support to potential business owners aged 18 to 25, or 26 to 30 with a disability.
Tel: (0141) 248 4999
- PRIME operates in England and Northern Ireland and provides advice and support to help people aged over 50 to start up businesses.
Tel: 0800 783 1904
- PRIME CYMRU OPERATES¬†in Wales and provides help and advice for people aged over 50 to start and run a business.
Tel: 0800 587 4085
- BNI UK Networking with other businesses can be a very useful way of finding information, keeping up to date with new developments and identifying potential partners. Online networking organisations include BNI UK www.bni-europe.com/uk An example of an online business networking club is Connect Buzz www.connectbuzz.com , while BizFace www.bizface.co.uk/bizfaceforum ¬†is an online business and communities networking forum that includes information on business opportunities on its website
- ASKALIX¬†provides an online directory of local businesses ¬†www.askalix.com/uk
- BRITISH COMPANIES¬†provides an online directory of local businesses ¬†www.britishcompanies.co.uk
- YELLOW PAGES ONLINE PROVIDES¬†an online directory of local businesses ¬†www.yell.com
- THOMSON LOCAL¬†provides an online directory of local businesses www.thomsonlocal.com
- UK KOMPASS REGISTER -¬†this hard-copy directory comes in three volumes, which are Products and Services, Company Information and Industrial Trade Names. Information in the publications includes financial data, company addresses and named managers. www.kompass.co.uk/info/op_ukk_register.htm
- KEY BRITISH ENTERPRISES -¬†lists the top companies in Britain alphabetically, and covers a wide variety of information ranging from corporate background to key decision makers in each company. It is published by Dun & Bradstreet. You can check the website for registration details https://solutions.dnb.com/kbe
- Who Owns Whom – this database covers corporate structures in all industries and includes details about subsidiaries and parent companies. It can be used to identify links between customers and potential partners. It is also published by Dun & Bradstreet. You can check the website for registration details https://solutions.dnb.com/wow
- KELLY’S BUSINESS DIRECTORY WWW.KELLYSEARCH.CO.UK¬†- this is a suppliers’ search directory for business-to-business (B2B), providing a list of suppliers and their contact details
- THE PRINCE’S TRUST HELPS¬†young people aged 18-30 who are unemployed or under-employed to start up in business. It provides mentoring opportunities for young people.
Tel: (020) 7543 1234
- THE BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE¬†has links to regional chambers that may provide mentoring programmes.
Tel: (020) 7654 5800
- BUSINESS MENTORING SCOTLAND¬†matches businesses with suitable mentors.
- HORSESMOUTH¬†is an online mentoring network.
- THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF PERSONNEL AND DEVELOPMENT (CIPD) IS¬†the professional body for businesses involved in personnel development and training. It features news and research documents on issues affecting business training.
151 The Broadway
Tel: (020) 8612 6200
- THE DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND SKILLS (BIS)¬†is the Government organisation responsible for education and skills.
Tel: (020) 7215 5555
- THE SKILLS FUNDING AGENCY¬†is responsible for planning and funding vocational education and training.
Tel: 0845 377 5000
- THE ALLIANCE OF SECTOR SKILLS COUNCILS COMPRISES¬†all 25 Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) and is responsible for supporting, funding and developing them. Together they form the Skills for Business Network.
Tel: 0845 072 5600
- THE UK COMMISSION FOR EMPLOYMENT AND SKILLS ADVISES¬†the Government on its employment and skills strategy and makes proposals for new training initiatives.
28-30 Grosvenor Gardens
Tel: (020) 7881 8900
- TRAIN TO GAIN IS¬†a Government initiative that offers funding and support to employers for training their staff.
Tel: 0800 015 5545
- THE INSTITUTE OF TRAINING AND OCCUPATIONAL LEARNING (ITOL) REPRESENTS¬†individuals specialising in training, development and occupational learning.
49 Seymour Terrace
Tel: (0151) 707 8424
- THE ASSOCIATION OF LEARNING PROVIDERS (ALP) REPRESENTS¬†the training sector, and liaises with Government departments and funding organisations.
46 Bath Hill
Tel: (0117) 986 5389
- THE ASSOCIATION FOR MANAGEMENT EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT¬†is a professional network for people working in the field of individual and organisation development.
7 & 8 Roman Way
Tel: (01480) 459575
- THE BRITISH INSTITUTE OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT REPRESENTS¬†the interests of learning and development professionals and provides a number of benefits to members including lists of tender opportunities, research reports and sector news.
1 Henbury Road
Westbury on Trym
Tel: (0117) 959 6517
SOME TRAINING PROVIDERS
- THE TRAINING FOUNDATION¬†provides accredited training and resources for learning providers.
University of Warwick Science Park
Tel: (024) 7641 1288
- LEARN DIRECT
Innovative online training solutions for you to start your company on the right foot
- MY OWN BUSINESS
A business course teaching you how to avoid failure
- ICS LEARN
Want to be your own boss? This course teaches you how to manage a business
This guide teaches you how to start an online business
This guide goes in depth with the process of starting a new company
- SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY WE¬†offer current students, and graduates from the last five years, a wide range of free business start-up support and resources to help turn talent into a business http://www.shu.ac.uk/startup/
- LEEDS METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY ¬†Business Start Up is part funded by the European and HEIF (Higher Education Innovation Fund). The project has attracted ¬£105,000 of investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for local economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme 2007-13.¬† http://www.business-start-up.biz/
- UNIVERSITY OF WOLVERHAMPTON THE¬†Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education West Midlands (SPEED WM) project helps entrepreneurial students to set up their own businesses whilst they are studying. Successful candidates receive experienced mentoring support, tailored training, networking opportunities, access to incubation space and a small amount of financial support. http://www.wlv.ac.uk/default.aspx?page=27536
- PLYMOUTH UNIVERSITY¬†Whether you are at the initial business ideas stage or want to take your business in a new direction, Plymouth University can help. Leading the Peninsula Growth Acceleration and Investment Network (GAIN), we offer a wide range of support, advice and facilities to enable you to progress at any stage in your business growth. www.plymouth.ac.uk/enterprisesolutions¬†
- SMART – GRANT FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT¬†
This grant scheme aims to encourage research and development of technologically innovative products and processes. Three types of grant are available: a proof of market grant; a proof of concept grant; and a development of prototype grant. The scheme provides finance of up to ¬£250,000 accounting for 35-60% of project costs. It funds pre-start, start up and smaller businesses. Go to
- ¬†for more information.
- KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER PARTNERSHIPS (KTPS)¬†
KTPs encourage collaboration between businesses and universities in the UK. Businesses that take part can access knowledge, information, skills and research from participating universities and further education institutes to improve their competitiveness and productivity on a particular project. The partnership employs a KTP Associate, often a recent graduate, to work within the business, managing the project and gaining business experience. Funding is available to assist with the costs of the project but participating businesses will be expected to contribute around a third of the costs. Go to
- ENTERPRISE FINANCE GUARANTEE (EFG)¬†
The EFG is available for businesses with an annual turnover of up to ¬£25 million that are finding it difficult to access the funding they need due to a lack of security. The scheme provides loans of between ¬£1,000 and ¬£1 million with the Government guaranteeing 75% of the loan. Lending is at the discretion of the participating bank.
The EFG supersedes and replaces the Small Firms Loan Guarantee (SFLG). The scheme is scheduled to run until 2014-15 with a projected lending total of ¬£2 billion.
Go to www.bis.gov.uk/policies/enterprise-and-business-support/access-to-finance/enterprise-finance-guarantee ¬†for more information and details of participating lenders.
- EXPORT ENTERPRISE FINANCE GUARANTEE SCHEME (EXEFG)¬†
The ExEFG Scheme is modelled on the EFG Scheme established by BIS. It provides working capital for smaller businesses through short term loans and the consolidation of overdrafts, and offers export finance from ¬£25,001 up to ¬£1m to exporters with a turnover of up to ¬£25m.
Go to www.bis.gov.uk/policies/enterprise-and-business-support/access-to-finance/ex-efg ¬†for further information on the scheme.
- NEW ENTERPRISE ALLOWANCE (NEA)¬†
NEA is a scheme funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and is designed to help long term unemployed people start up their own businesses.
To be eligible, an individual must be aged 18 or over and have been claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) for 26 weeks or more. The scheme provides access to a mentor and financial support consisting of ¬£65 a week for 13 weeks reducing to ¬£33 a week for a further 13 weeks. Participants in the scheme may also apply for a loan of up to ¬£1,000 to help towards the costs of starting their business.
For further information on the scheme go to www.dwp.gov.uk/adviser/updates/new-enterprise-allowance
- ENTERPRISE CAPITAL FUNDS (ECFS)¬†
ECFs are government supported funds that help small and medium sized businesses that are unable to attract funding from private investors or venture capitalists (known as the Equity Gap). The ECFs use public and private sector funding to provide equity finance of up to ¬£2 million per individual business investment.
For further information and contact details for the specific ECFs go to www.bis.gov.uk/policies/enterprise-and-business-support/access-to-finance/enterprise-capital-funds
- REGIONAL GROWTH FUND (RGF)
The RGF is a ¬£1.4 billion fund that aims to stimulate enterprise by supporting projects with significant potential to create long-term private sector employment and economic growth. The RGF will operate for three years between 2011 and 2014. The fund is primarily aimed at assisting those areas in England that are heavily dependent on the public sector for employment. Go to www.bis.gov.uk/policies/regional-economic-development/regional-growth-fund for more information.
The Government has extended the scheme to make it more accessible for smaller businesses. For further information go to www.bis.gov.uk/news/topstories/2011/Nov/regional-growth-fund-to-help-small-businesses
- LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT ADVISORY SERVICE (LMAS)
The LMAS is available to businesses with the potential for high growth that have between 2 and 250 employees. Applicant businesses will be assessed via a free consultation to determine their capacity and plans for growth. Eligible businesses can access matched funding of up to ¬£1,000 to spend on management training and support. Go to
- ¬†for more information.
- THE DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND SKILLS (BIS)¬†is responsible for enterprise and business support in the UK.
Tel: (020) 7215 5000
- THE BRITISH PRIVATE EQUITY AND VENTURE CAPITAL ASSOCIATION (BVCA)¬†provides publications, data and guidance on all aspects of private equity and venture capital funding.
Tel: (020) 7420 1800
- THE NATIONAL ENTERPRISE NETWORK¬†is a network of independent, not for profit, enterprise agencies and similar organisations that provide services to small and growing businesses in England.
Tel: (01234) 831623
The British Business Angels Association (BBAA) is a trade association whose members include business angel networks. Their website has a directory of business angels and information for businesses looking for funding.
Tel: (020) 7321 5669
- ANGEL INVESTMENT NETWORK IS¬†a web-based service for matching angel investors seeking investment opportunities with entrepreneurs looking for capital.
Business Investment Group (North East)
Tel: 0870 766 9341
- CENTRAL ENGLAND BUSINESS ANGELS (CEBA)
Tel: 0845 051 3850
- EAST MIDLANDS BUSINESS ANGELS (EMBA)
Tel: (01636) 708717
- HALO (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Tel: (028) 9073 7814
- LINC SCOTLAND
Tel: (0141) 221 3321
- LONDON BUSINESS ANGELS (LBA)
Tel: (020) 7321 5672
- NORTHWEST BUSINESS ANGELS
- FSE GROUP INVESTOR NETWORK
Tel: (01276) 608510
- SOUTH WEST ANGEL AND INVESTOR NETWORK (SWAIN)
Tel: 0870 060 6560
- X√ČNOS, THE WALES BUSINESS ANGEL NETWORK
Tel: (029) 2033 8144
- YORKSHIRE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS ANGELS (YABA)
Tel: (01423) 810149
- THE BRITISH BANKERS’ ASSOCIATION (BBA)¬†is a trade association for UK banks. It provides banking information for small businesses.
Tel: (020) 7216 8800
- THE FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY¬†regulates banks in the UK and provides information on how to protect money and resolve disputes and complaints.
Tel: 0845 606 1234
- MONEYFACTS¬†provides a business bank account comparison service and advice guides.
- BACS provides information on direct debit and BACS credit payments.
Tel: 0870 165 0018
- CHIPANDPIN.CO.UK¬†is an official information resource for matters related to chip and PIN technology.
- SETTING UP A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT
If you are setting up a limited company, partnership or LLP you will need to set up a business bank account. To compare business banks accounts go to
ADMINISTRATIVE AND STRUCTURAL SUPPORT
- HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS (HMRC)
Tel: 0845 714 3143 (Employers’ helpline)
Tel: 0845 607 0143 (Helpline for new employers)
Tel: 0845 915 4515 (Helpline for the newly self-employed)
- COMPANIES HOUSE
- Tel: 030 3123 4500
- THE COMMUNITY INTEREST COMPANIES (CIC) REGULATOR¬†provides information about setting up a CIC.
Tel: (029) 2034 6228
This is primarily for tax and National Insurance purposes. If you intend to employ staff you will need to register with HMRC as an employer.
- UK SCIENCE PARK ASSOCIATION (UKSPA)¬†is the authoritative body on the planning and development of science parks. It has a database of property suitable for knowledge-based businesses.
Tel: (01799) 532050
- THE BUSINESS CENTRE ASSOCIATION (BCA)¬†is a professional organisation for operators of business centres and managed workspace. It publishes a searchable directory of workspace.
Tel: (020) 8387 1444
- SHELL LIVEWIRE
- Free advice and funding to help you start a business
Established in 1982, the Shell LiveWIRE programme offers free online business advice and start-up awards of ¬£1,000 and ¬£10,000 funding to young entrepreneurs in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
- Find independent advice, tools and information for new businesses, start-ups, small businesses and entrepreneurs.
- RAISING CAPITAL: GET THE MONEY YOU NEED TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS
- by Andrew J. Sherman
- BUSINESS MODEL YOU BY¬†Tim Clark
About reinventing your whole professional life by creating, a simple, one-page blueprint for a business.
- HOW TO MAKE A MILLION BEFORE LUNCH¬†By Rachel Bridge
Former business journalist distils her knowledge into 20 top tips for getting rich quick.
- START YOUR BUSINESS IN 7 DAYS¬†by James Caan
Dragon Caan focuses less on the mechanics of start-ups than on asking: “Will my business work?”
- START YOUR OWN EBAY OR AMAZON¬†by Kim Benjamin
Step-by-step guide to picking the right market, customers, platform, and, crucially, how to get noticed.
- MAKE IT HAPPEN: THE PRINCE’S TRUST GUIDE
- Good, practical advice on ideas, funding, business plans and looking after your finances.
- ENTREPRENEURSHIP¬†by Frederick G. Crane
An entrepreneurship encyclopedia, it presupposes the reader is familiar with business concepts.
- THE START-UP OF YOU BY¬†Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
Co-written by LinkedIn-founder Hoffman, it has great tips on becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg.
- ZOOM! BY¬†Ian Sanders and David Sloly
Speedy set-ups can lead to speedy money making, that’s the message behind Sanders and Sloly’s book.
- LEAN STARTUP BY¬†Eric Ries
STUDIES AND REPORTS
- COBRA is a comprehensive information and research resource designed for business advisers and information professionals. This includes reports on business opportunity profiles and business information factsheets:
Go to www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk for local reports, statistics and a digest of demographics. You can search by city or postcode to access a range of data on income, lifestyle, migration, transport and other key factors.
- UPMYSTREET¬†www.upmystreet.com and Check My File www.checkmyfile.com/neighbourhood.asp provide reports and analysis of an area defined by its postcode, outlining information about local services for education, the property market, leisure, finance and public transport. This can be useful when building up a picture of the economic health and consumer wealth of a particular area.¬†
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