2. Research funding opportunitiesA good place to start exploring funding is the Government finance support finder website. For example, I filtered by London and found 118 current available schemes, from apprenticeships to loan guarantees to growth accelerator programmes. There are also a myriad of local grant programmes and initiatives available to help businesses grow -the grant finder and j4bgrants are a great way of finding extra funds. An increasing amount of funds to help start-ups have also emerged in recent years including StartUp Loans – an increasingly important source of funding for new businesses.
3. Get local with business networksIt is clear from the survey results that the vast majority of businesses would value more links locally – and can see the benefits of doing more business in their own neighbourhood. Local Chambers of Commerce can help you understand the sorts of local resources and networks available. LEPs will also have good contacts with local networks. Many local councils now offer tailored local business support, whilst larger cities or areas also offer growth hubs with their own unique programmes and services. Business networks such as the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors also have local offices.
4. Tap into apprentice, skills and training schemesThe National Scheme for Apprenticeships explains the sort of apprentice schemes that businesses can take advantage of. Just as importantly,there are a range of public and private businesses in your local area helping small businesses source apprentices. LEPs and Chambers of Commerce will have more information on these. The Government business support site outlines free and subsidised training programmes available locally. The Growth Accelerator scheme, backed by the Government and run by accountants Grant Thornton, helps SMEs who are willing and able to grow rapidly with subsidised local mentoring and support programmes. And local council initiatives to stimulate employment in their area can also be very useful resources. As well as so many local programmes, there is also plenty of help on hand to expand further afield. Take UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) which works with UK businesses to ensure their success in international markets and has developed important initiatives such as Open to Export. In other words there is no shortage of help out there for businesses in the know.
However, it pains me to see that so many entrepreneurs and business people up and down the country are losing out on vital support right under their noses every working day. So come on British businesses – now you can start getting the help you really need and deserve.
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