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Directory of resources for small business owners

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Starting a small business, especially on your own, can be overwhelming.

The sheer amount of admin and procedures to get through is no doubt enough to leave you with questions.

Luckily, there is plenty of support out there to help you tackle the ins and outs – from experts in-the-know to those going through the same.

Below, you’ll see a list of resources for small businesses in the UK.

It includes all kinds of business and entrepreneur support, such as initiatives, think tanks, industry-specific groups and advice hubs that are based all around the country.

Resource categories

Simply click on the category below that applies to you and your business, and begin exploring what’s available in your area:

Entrepreneur support

Creative

Fashion

Tech

Trade and construction

Women in business

Dreaming of bossing your own business? Take our quiz to see how ready you are to take the plunge

Birmingham Enterprise Community

Birmingham Enterprise Community (BEC) is an award-winning organisation.

It helps a global community of entrepreneurs and businesses through a range of programmes and initiatives that support these entrepreneurs from concept/idea phase through to creating a start-up all the way through to supporting high-growth scaleups.

BEC was founded in 2019 by a group of entrepreneurs who had realised how important it was that entrepreneurs and businesses receive the right support for the stage they are at in their journey.

Therefore, BEC was established to provide support for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – community-led and purpose made.

BEC’s programmes support businesses from all sectors and sizes. These programmes involve equipping entrepreneurs and businesses with the knowledge, skills, resources and opportunities they need to grow and move forward.

Building People UK     

Building People UK makes it easier for people to find careers and business information, resources, events and vacancies, and helping business owners widen talent pools in order to attract and retain a more diverse built environment workforce.

They bring together organisations that provide initiatives that facilitate discussion, collaboration and change.

Catalyst

Catalyst is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working together for the greater good, enabling a connected community of like-minded innovators in an entrepreneurial eco-system that is the key driver of the knowledge economy in Northern Ireland.

They are a force for good, bold in their approach, with integrity at their core and passion in everything they do.

Dffrnt

Dffrnt is a global community of ambitious creators, spanning multiple continents, rebelling against the status quo and building brilliant companies that help them provide for their families, create jobs and do good.

They ensure anyone, anywhere, has everything they need to start and grow the business they wish to see in the world.

Truly democratised access to high-quality support, for everyone. In short, they offer a number of resources to help businesses through different memberships.

They’re based in Bristol.

Enterprise for London         

Enterprise for London is the capital’s business support organisation for aspiring start-ups and established entrepreneurs.

They provide a positive and supportive environment for businesses to fulfil their potential and create sustainable economic growth.

As an organisation they provide advice, training, access to finance and ongoing support, to help entrepreneurs create a successful enterprise.

Enterprise Nation        

Enterprise Nation is a vibrant community of small businesses and business advisers that exist to shortcut your route to trusted business support.

Whether you’re starting or growing a business, we have the resources, expertise, and connections to help you get it right.

Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation

Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation is an independent charity that exists to equip you and your organisation with the mindset, skills and connectivity to deliver personal and business growth.

They have 20 years’ experience supporting thousands of talented people to unlock potential. They provide transformative programmes that enable you to think, act and lead entrepreneurially.

Their programmes blend experience, world class teaching and peer to peer learning. They are supported by experience, generosity and goodwill from our community of 5,000 leaders.

Federation of Small Businesses

As experts in business, the Federation for Small Businesses (FSB) offers its members a wide range of vital business services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice heard in government.

Its mission is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions.

Leicester Start-ups

Leicester Start-ups was founded in 2013 by local entrepreneur Ben Ravilious to help existing and aspiring start-up entrepreneurs find advice, mentorship and co-founders, not to mention the occasional shoulder to cry on.

They do this by running and promoting engaging networking events, seminars, mentoring sessions and hackathons to bring the community closer together.

They’re also working to encourage more flexible workspaces to help entrepreneurs meet and collaborate.

NI Business Info

This free service, offered by Invest Northern Ireland, is the official online channel for business advice and guidance in Northern Ireland.

It contains essential information, support and services for you and your business – whether you work for a large organisation or are on your way to starting up. Simple to use, up to date and practical, NI Business Info is the first place to go to find guidance on regulations and to access government services.

It also has a number of useful online tools, calculators, and best practice case studies; and provides access to funding options, as well as wider support.

People Plus Enterprise

Founded in 1990, PeoplePlus Enterprise is the leading industry recognised provider of Business Start-up and Business Support in the UK.

They offer free and bespoke support with more than 30 years’ experience. They have successfully helped 90,000 people to set up and grow a business, with 45,000 in the past five years.

Process Excellence Network

The Process Excellence Network facilitates access to content and resources for Process Excellence, Operational Excellence, Lean, Six Sigma, Business Process Management and BPM practitioners.

They provide you with the tools and resources to help you perform more effective and efficiently, while enhancing the quality operations within your organization.

Rise Network

Rise Network is a consultancy and coaching studio providing 1-1 sessions, workshops and events to help individuals find fulfilment in both their personal and professional lives.

Built on a foundation of compassion, communication and self-awareness, they believe that by understanding ourselves better, can improve our relationships, our careers and our lives.

They work with entrepreneurs to provide support through virtual workshops, talks and events.

Their approach creates a space for self-reflection to transform the way we see ourselves and how we communicate with others.

RookieOven

RookieOven started the way all great things begin these days – with a tweet. Since then, it’s grown to become a bustling community of entrepreneurs that’s gained global recognition.

Born in 2011, RookieOven started as a way to bring Scottish start-ups together and promote their innovative work beyond the border.

Founder Michael was disappointed with the apparent lack of community for Scottish start-ups and so decided to create an informal monthly meet up for the Glasgow tech scene.

Start and Grow Enterprise

Start and Grow Enterprise offers free support for freelancers, entrepreneurs and new businesses.

Whether you have a big idea to get off the ground, an existing business which is facing some new hurdles – all of their training, courses, advice and resources are free of charge.

Start and Grow Enterprise is devoted to helping Gloucestershire continue its reputation of self-starting innovation and invention, by making it easy to get the right support.

Start Your Own Business

Start Your Own Business was formed in 2005 to help anyone running their own business or thinking of doing so.

The aim then and is still today to provide a useful selection of free start-up resources and to highlight the support that is available in each area on a local basis.

They provide guides on how to start a business step-by-step.

StartUp Britain

StartUp Britain is a national campaign by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, harnessing the expertise and passion of Britain’s leading business people to unleash entrepreneurship across the UK.

The campaign is chaired by entrepreneur Luke Johnson.

Founded by eight entrepreneurs, and launched in March 2011 by the Prime Minister, StartUp Britain is completely private sector funded, and was launched in response to the government’s call for an ‘enterprise led’ recovery.

Start Up Donut

Start Up Donut provides advice, resources and tools for starting a small business. Information on getting finance, business planning, hiring, IT, marketing and much more.

Startup Stash

Startup Stash is the biggest online directory of tools and resources for start-ups.

Startups

Startups is the UK’s leading independent, online resource for anyone starting and growing a business.

Established in 2000, they are the UK’s largest, longest serving, and most comprehensive small business advice platform, covering everything you need to know to start, buy, run, or sell a business.

The Entrepreneurs Network

The Entrepreneurs Network is a think tank for the ambitious owners of Britain’s fastest growing businesses and aspirational entrepreneurs.

Through research, events and the media, they bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and policymakers to help make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

They support entrepreneurs by:

  • Producing cutting-edge research outlining the benefits of easing unnecessary burdens upon enterprise.
  • Hosting regular events to bridge the gap between the aspirations of the entrepreneurial community and policymakers.
  • Building a network of entrepreneurs who are keen to improve the public policy debate.
  • Championing entrepreneurship and making the case for a more entrepreneurial society.

Wenta

Wenta is a social enterprise that provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ for business support. They can help you with everything from business advice, mentoring and training, to workspace, meeting rooms and virtual offices.

All of their online services are accessible free of charge, nationally.

Creative Entrepreneurs

Creative Entrepreneurs are passionate about supporting every shape and size of business, from the proudly ‘keep it small’ to the next big thing.

They connect you with today’s creative leaders and industry experts – so you can become tomorrow’s entrepreneurial success story.

They offer memberships both free and paid, rich online learning programmes to support entrepreneurs at every stage (from setting up to scaling businesses), news, views & interviews and advice from experts.

Fashion Angel

Fashion Angel is a fashion industry support service offering business mentoring, events and access to funding, to fashion start-ups and established fashion business entrepreneurs.

Their mission is to give fashion designers and entrepreneurs the tools to enable them to connect their creativity with the entrepreneurial skills they need, to start up and grow sustainable fashion businesses.

SETsquared Bristol

SETsquared is the global number one University Business Incubator – a long-standing enterprise partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey, which specialises in growing technology start-ups through its world class business support programmes.

Based at Engine Shed in the heart of the Bristol Enterprise Zone, SETsquared Bristol has supported over 200 ventures from a wide range of sectors, from telecoms, automotive, biotech and security to name but a few.

Since launching in 2002, our members combined have raised more than £432m to date.

Tech Manchester

Tech Manchester exists to provide start-ups with an opportunity to learn from those who have been there and done it, for projects to find the financial backing they need, and for the inquisitive to connect with like-minded innovators.

Their goal is to lift Manchester’s tech offering to new heights.

Tech Nation

Tech Nation fuels the growth of game-changing founders, leaders and scaling companies so they can positively transform societies and economies.

The organisation provides them with the coaching, content and community they need for their journey in designing the future.

Federation of Master Builders

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is the largest trade association in the UK construction industry representing the interests of small and medium-sized building companies and lobbying for members at both national and local levels.

The FMB has a series of member groups and committees that advise FMB staff and oversee aspects of the FMB’s activities.

The FMB has local offices in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, to support members across the UK.

Lighthouse Club

The Lighthouse Club (also known as the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity) is the only organisation that provides mental, physical and financial wellbeing support to the construction community and their families.

They receive no public funding and rely on the generosity of those within in the industry to help them continue their vital work.

Statistics show that there is still much work to be done to improve the safety and emotional wellbeing of the construction community within the UK.

Babes on Waves

The first business club for diverse founders. Babes on Waves strives to build the next gen of women entrepreneurs and changemakers.

They position themselves as the go to place for women who want to gain confidence. Confidence in their lives, through self-development talks and workshops, and confidence as founders, through the business clubs for female entrepreneurs.

Blooming Founders

Founded in 2015, Blooming Founders aims to help early stage female entrepreneurs and diverse teams succeed.​

With their ecosystem of products and services, they want to create new opportunities for female founders and enable them to build profitable businesses.

They do this by helping them to expand their network, by providing practical business education and by facilitating access to investors.

While they work with women in mind, they welcome people of all genders to be part of what we do.

For Working Ladies

For Working Ladies is a single, all-encompassing digital resource that exists to answer any question that you might have about work, money, career, entrepreneurship, lifestyle and more.

It’s a one-stop digital community for female professionals and business owners. It’s particularly beneficial for women who are interested in starting a business or building a side hustle.

Growth Co Lab

Founded by digital growth strategist Emmie Faust, Growth Co Lab is a network for female coaches and consultants to come together for networking, collaboration and support as they grow their businesses.

Members meet once a month to brainstorm business challenges and work on their companies with other ambitious women.

She Aspires UK

Founded by therapist and creative entrepreneur Jennifer Okolo, She Aspires was born out of frustration from seeing young talented women overshadowed by society and overruled by those who could not see the talent that stood before them.

She Aspires is an online platform set up to inspire young women to become what they want to be, regardless of their background.

They aim to promote diversity in all factors and encourage young females to overcome the glass ceiling that is currently being presented by society.

They also elevate the work of emerging females, by providing an open online platform where their voices can be heard.

She Can She Did

She can. She did. is the first and only Benefits Programme built by and for female business owners in the UK.

They’re on a mission to make sure that more women get past the first few years in business and have the support and security to build success on their own terms.

The She Brief

The She Brief is a community founded to give womxn the tools to succeed in business and beyond. Their aim is simple – they help business owners get out of their own way and give them the tools and a community needed to grow

Women in Logistics and Transport

Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT) was launched in June 2013 to promote the logistics industry to female members and to encourage and support their career development.

By June 2019 WiLAT had over 3000 members in 22 countries and they’re still growing.

Hatch Enterprise

Since 2014, Hatch Enterprise have worked with entrepreneurs from diverse, under-served communities to grow smart ideas into successful, profitable, and sustainable businesses that have a positive and lasting impact on their communities.

Their expertise is in helping women, social impact, and black and ethnic minority entrepreneurs develop the knowledge and skills needed to grow a business.

They do this through a mix of exclusive events, peer support, hands-on seminars and one-to-one expert support.

Are you ready to be your own boss?

Dreaming of bossing your own business? Take our quiz to see how ready you are to take the plunge.

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