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Government Support

Business Advice

The GREATbusiness.gov.uk website is a single portal for business seeking support from government. It is designed to enable business to find the support they need. At the core of the website is a new online tool “My Business Support”, to help businesses identify their needs and then direct them to the most appropriate public and private sector support. This tool will sit alongside the Business Finance and Support Finder tool, so that business can search for the support they need.

My Business Support: greatbusiness.gov.uk

Click here to visit the Business Finance Support Finder.


Business Support Helpline 

Tel: 0300 456 3565 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 6.00pm)

The Business Support Helpline offers advice and guidance for new and existing businesses. It has information on national and local schemes as well as grants and loans to help businesses start and grow. A team of specialist advisors can provide a more in-depth, personalised service for complex business issues. Businesses can choose a telephone appointment time convenient for them and get up to 60 minutes of free, expert advice. The Business Support Helpline has been expanded and enhanced to deliver and raise awareness of government support through social media channels and provide an open access “Knowledge Bank” of national and local information about business support by all advisers. This is accessible via:

Click Here to visit the Business Support Web Chat page

Click Here to visit the Business Support Facebook Page

Click here to visit the Business Support Twitter Page


Support for Start-Ups

Starting a business requires careful planning, research and preparation. This section provides information on Government Support Schemes, grants and initiatives to help a business start-up.

General sources of advice

Both the http://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/ website and the Business Support Helpline can offer advice about starting up a business and direct business to more support. Businesses can call 0300 456 3565 to speak to a business support advisor (9.00am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday).

The greatbusiness.gov.uk website offers general advice and help on:

The basics of starting up: http://www.gov.uk/starting-up-a-business | www.GREATbusiness.gov.uk/start

HMRC can also offer start-up information: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/startingup/

Local support

The “My Business Support Tool” identifies business needs and directs them to the most appropriate support: greatbusiness.gov.uk/mybusinesssupporttool

Start-up Finance

The Business and Finance Support Finder tool can be searched for support available to start ups and has an in-depth database of information about grants, loans and other financial assistance available to businesses in the UK. Find out more on:  http://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support-finder.

The Start up Loans Company provides low-cost loans and mentoring for entrepreneurs over 18 years old who are looking to start a business. Anybody living in the UK and is at least 18 years of age or older at the time of registration, can apply for a Start Up Loan, even if they have already started a business but they must not have been trading for longer than a period of 12 months. Find out more: http://www.startuploans.co.uk/

The Business Finance Guide produced by the British Business Bank and the institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, sets out the full range of access to finance options as a business goes from start-up to growth to listing on the stock exchange. Visit: http://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/the-business-finance-guide/

Home Businesses

It has never been easier to start a business from home. A checklist can be found on the GREAT website: www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/home-businesses/

and guidance can be found at: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-home-business-guide

Looking for office space

Space for Growth is a government scheme that offers surplus office space in government buildings to start-ups, small businesses, social enterprises and charities free of charge or low cost. Find out more: www.gov.uk/rent-government-workspace

Enterprise Zones could also help businesses locate some start up space. Find out more: http://enterprisezones.communities.gov.uk/.

Small business tax relief has been extended for a year. If a business’s property has a rateable value below £18,000 (£25,500 in Greater London) it would be considered a small business. For more information, please visit: www.gov.uk/apply-for-business-rate-relief/small-business-rate-relief.

What happens to benefits if an individual wants to start up a business?

If a person is unemployed, the new Enterprise Allowance Scheme provides money and support to help start a business. For more details visit: www.gov.uk/moving-from-benefits-to-work/starting-your-own-business

Further sources of advice

Enterprise agencies offer free independent advice and support to those thinking about starting or already running a business. Find the nearest member of the National Enterprise Network through their website: www.nationalenterprisenetwork.org/


The British Business Bank Finance Guide, produced by the British Business Bank and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), sets out the full range of access to finance options for businesses as they go from start-up to growth to listing on the stock exchange: http://british-business-bank.co.uk/british-business-bank-icaew-jointly-publish-new-business-finance-guide/

Business Continuity Management

The Cabinet Office have produced guidance on Business Continuity Management that helps to identify parts of an organisation that cannot afford to be lost, such as information, stock, premises, staff and planning how to maintain these if an incident occurs. For further details visit:  www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/137994/Business_Continuity_Managment_Toolkit.pdf


Growing a Business

Growing a business requires good planning and execution. This section provides information on Government support schemes, grants and initiatives that are designed to help growth businesses succeed.

Advice

The Growing Your Business section on the GOV.UK website: www.gov.uk/growing-your-business provides information and guidance including:

  • Plan for growth
  • Get extra funding
  • Increase sales to existing customers
  • Attract new customers
  • Improve your products and services
  • Develop new products and services
  • Hire and train staff
  • Work with a mentor

The Business and Finance Support Finder tool has an in-depth database of information about grants, loans and other financial assistance available to businesses in the UK

The Business Exchange

The Business Exchange is about delivering game-changing opportunities to small businesses by posting pledges of meaningful commercial support from big business. These pledges could be offers of investment, or the sharing of intellectual capital and physical assets. Find out more: greatbusiness.gov.uk/business-exchange/


Staff

Every business needs an efficient, reliable and skilled workforce. There are many resources, schemes and incentives to help businesses recruit, employ and develop their people. GREATbusiness.gov.uk has an employment and skills section that sets out essential information on recruiting and training staff, especially for the first time. Find out more: http://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/employment-and-skills. The Business Support Helpline T: 0300 456 3565 can also help provide advice on this issue.

Universal Jobmatch

Free online system which matches candidates to jobs. Businesses can advertise jobs and search for jobseekers whose CVs match their needs. Find out more: www.gov.uk/jobsearch

Small Business Recruitment Service

Government service which provides individual support for small businesses, including:

  • a helpline with specialist advisers who understand small businesses’ recruitment needs
  • help with the design and wording of job vacancies to ensure that businesses get the best person for the job
  • signposting to other types of support (eg ACAS for employment legislation issues)
  • a contact who can advise on the local labour market
  • an aftercare service to ensure business continue to get the service they need after they’ve recruited someone

Find out more and use the service:  Telephone: 0845 601 2001 (option 2) Textphone: 0845 601 2002 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Employment Allowance

Small Business employers can get £2,000 by claiming this relief on National Insurance bills.

Employment Allowance is for nearly all employers that pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions on their employees’ and directors’ earnings. This includes:

  • businesses
  • charities

Find out more: www.gov.uk/employment-allowance

Employer Investment Fund

This fund, led by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, has supported 87 projects: www.gov.uk/government/publications/ukces-employer-investment-fund

Online learning from ACAS

Ten free online courses that provide advice on employment issues.: www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2113

Training in people management and disputes

Discover the range of courses relating to employment that are available from ACAS: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2002


Accessing Finance

The choice of finance options available to small businesses is now a far greater one than just banks. This section contains advice and information to help businesses find out how to access affordable and appropriate finance. The www.GREATbusiness.gov.uk website provides information about the variety of funding sources that are available. There is also guidance on the law regarding late payment of debts and on how to make an appeal if a bank turns down a loan request. Find out more: http://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/finance/

Businesses can also search the Business and Finance Support Finder tool on gov.uk. This is an in-depth database of information about grants, loans and other financial assistance available to businesses in the UK – the Business Finance and Support Finder, which users can browse based on things like their location, size, and type of industry. Find out more: www.gov.uk/starting-up-a-business/get-funding | http://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support-finder. The Business Support Helpline T: 0300 456 3565 can also help provide advice on this issue.

British Business Bank 

The British Business Bank is being set up as a state-backed economic development bank. It will support economic growth by bringing together public and private sector funds to create more effective and efficient finance markets for smaller businesses in the UK. Find out more about the funding the bank can offer and unlock: http://british-business-bank.co.uk/.

www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/finance/ offers information and guidance about financial issues that can help business survive, including: Financing and planning business growth, Finance options for new businesses, Equity finance for growth businesses, Debt finance and grants for growth businesses, Tax relief and incentives for business, Help with Bank lending appeals, Dealing with late payments, Funding and support for new ideas and Writing a business plan.

Find out more: http://british-business-bank.co.uk/british-business-bank-icaew-jointly-publish-new-business-finance-guide/ 

Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme (EFG) (run by the British Business Bank)

Businesses that have been turned down for a commercial loan can ask their bank to access the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, which backs loans to viable businesses who don’t necessarily have the security a normal loan would need.

EFG is open to viable businesses that:

  • operate in the UK
  • have a turnover of no more than £41 million
  • are seeking finance of between £1,000 and £1.2 million
  • wish and can afford to repay over a period of between 3 months and 10 years for term lending and between 3 months and 3 years for overdrafts, invoice finance and other revolving facilities
  • require the finance for an eligible purpose (most business purposes are eligible – the most significant exclusion is the financing of specific export orders, as alternative forms of assistance for that purpose is provided by UK Export Finance, see page 18)
  • operate in a business sector that is eligible for EFG (almost all sectors are eligible – where exclusions apply they arise from EU State Aid rules)

Find out more: http://british-business-bank.co.uk/market-failures-and-how-we-address-them/enterprise-finance-guarantee/

Angel Co-Fund (run by the British Business Bank)

Makes equity investments of between £100,000 and £1 million in smaller businesses in the UK. It invests alongside strong syndicates of business angels to support businesses with strong growth potential. Find out more: http://british-business-bank.co.uk/market-failures-and-how-we-address-them/angel-cofund/

Small Business Rate Relief

Most small businesses are eligible for the government’s small business rate relief scheme. The scheme has been extended for 1 year from April 2014. If a business’s property has a rateable value below £18,000 (£25,500 in Greater London) it would be considered a small business. Find out more: www.gov.uk/apply-for-business-rate-relief/small-business-rate-relief

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme

Tax incentives for investors to invest in start-ups and small businesses. Find out more at: www.hmrc.gov.uk/seedeis/index.htm. The Start up Loans Company provides low-cost loans and mentoring for entrepreneurs over 18 years old who are looking to start a business. Anybody living in the UK and is at least 18 years of age or older at the time of registration, can apply for a Start Up Loan, even if they have already started a business but they must not have been trading for longer than a period of 12 months. Find out more: www.startuploans.co.uk/

UK Export Finance

This offers businesses planning to export goods or services from the UK a form of credit guarantee or insurance to protect against non-payment or other financial issues. UK Export Finance (UKEF) can provide guarantees, insurance and advice in support of UK exports large and small. Working across a wide range of sectors, UKEF can consider support for exports to over 200 countries. Find out more: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-export-finance


Developing new ideas and products

If it creates something unique, a business has Intellectual Property (IP) that it can protect and exploit. This section highlights where to get advice on copyright, patents, design and trademarks and support schemes. There are many funding opportunities for businesses who want to develop and exploit their IP. There are also schemes and initiatives in which businesses can collaborate with research partners, such as universities, to develop new ideas. These are listed below:

Innovate UK (formally known as Technology Strategy Board)

Offers funding, business support and networking platforms to help boost technology and innovation: Smart grants Offers up to £100,000 co-funding for R&D projects. Smart is aimed at SMEs with high growth ambition and potential. Pre start-ups, start-ups, and small and medium-sized businesses from all sectors across the UK, undertaking R&D may apply.  Find out more: Innovate UK website. Innovation Vouchers worth £5,000 are available for expert help to develop ideas. This scheme is open to micro, small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 250 employees only.

British Library Business & Intellectual Property Centre and its network

The British Library Business & Intellectual Property Centre and its network of Centres based at other libraries around the country can offer businesses impartial free advice; support around patents/copyrighting and protecting ideas/products and marketing them. The Centres offer business support as well as a specialised intellectual property service. Find out more: www.bl.uk/bipc/. The wider network: www.bl.uk/bipc/ourpartners/rollout/regional.html

Design Leadership Programme

The Design Leadership Programme is a subsidised programme offering up to 10 days of design and innovation-focused mentoring over a period of 6 to 18 months. The programme helps businesses put design at the centre of their business strategy and will give businesses new skills and capabilities, boost competitiveness and speed up growth. The programme will be tailored to fit a business’s needs, and will help to:

  • identify medium to long-term strategic business challenges
  • work out how to overcome these challenges
  • make sure projects and programmes move forward
  • make changes to business
  • find specialist help and advice

The programme and costs are different for each business. Most programmes cost between £2,000 and £10,000, and if an application is successful, the business will receive a subsidy which will pay 50% of the cost. The Business Support Helpline T: 0300 456 3565 can also help provide advice on this issue.


Exporting

A business can grow by exporting its goods or services and exporting needn’t be hard or complex. This section offers details of practical support.

Department for International Trade (DIT)

DIT should be a businesses first point of call for all exporters. It provides a comprehensive range of services and expert export advice, in the UK and overseas, helping businesses build & grow their international business. Find out more: DIT Website

Open to export

Open to Export is a community driven service for small and medium sized businesses, looking for help and support in exporting from the UK and has been developed in partnership with UKTI and BIS. Find out more: www.opentoexport.com/

Export Control

Find out which exports are controlled and therefore require an export licence; how to apply for one and; what compliance responsibilities you as an export have: For More details: www.gov.uk/beginners-guide-to-export-controls

UK Export Finance

For businesses planning to export goods or services from the UK then it is likely they will need some form of credit guarantee or insurance to protect against non-payment or other financial issues. If a business can’t get what it needs from the private market, UK Export Finance (UKEF) may be able to help. They provide guarantees, insurance and advice in support of UK exports large and small. Working across a wide range of sectors, UKEF can consider support for exports to over 200 countries. Find out more: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-export-finance.

Record Keeping and Simpler Income Tax applications/software

To help small businesses with record keeping, below is a list of software suppliers that have produced simple record keeping applications some of which meet cash basis and simplified expenses specifications following consultation with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Many of these applications are free. Click here to access these applications and software.


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