Making sense of business support in your area
One of the great things about running your own business is the amount of help available. However, to many business owners, trying to make sense of it all means can be time-consuming and tricky. There’s so much to digest, it can easily become overwhelming.
How do you know where to look and find which resources will be of most interest to you, or whether you’re eligible for any of them? And is there lots of red tape involved, or hoops to jump before you can take advantage of anything?
It can be a real minefield, so we’ve put together a quick guide you might find useful.
Government help is available
You’ll find load of information on the gov.uk website about what’s out there for small businesses. It covers everything from accessing finance, attracting investment, how to sell overseas, and applying for government contracts.
There’s also a section on tax, advice on what to do if you’re not being paid on time and even stuff about preparing for Brexit.
You can watch videos, read case studies and blogs, or find links to lots of websites with everything you need to know. Not all of the services are provided directly by the government, but they’re government-backed or approved by them if not. They’ll tell you what the next steps are and how to go about taking them.
Is there anything close to home?
Yes. Gov.uk has a link to the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund website, which provides finance to business across the North West, Yorkshire, the Humber, and Tees Valley. Small businesses can apply for funding through regional local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to help them grow and employ more local people. Check out the website for more details.
Another great place for local business support is the Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub. Backed by the UK government, the hub offers independent help to small businesses and anyone thinking about setting one up. As well as finding trusted local services you might need, there’s also the ‘Made Smarter’ programme, which helps manufacturing and engineering business, and makers and creators, in the North West grow through new digital technologies.
The programme offers a free audit to assess how much your business could grow with new technology, 50% off funding towards implementing the technology, and subsidised leadership and student placements once it’s in place.
What about workshops and face-to-face events?
Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub also lists a host of local events and workshops, on a range of subjects, including how to use LinkedIn properly, tendering like a professional and improving manufacturing. Business fairs and Growth Hub events are also regular features in its calendar. Most are free to attend – head over to events tab at their website and sign up for any you’re interested in.
Talking of business events, we run our own here at The Base, as well as regular networking meetings. We also offer tenants individual help with onsite business support and access to partners in marketing, law, accounting, banking, and more. There’s also onsite shared office space and a good selection of conference and meeting rooms are available to rent by the hour. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.