External business support and advice

Grow London Local!

Whether you’re a hairdresser, wholesaler, mechanic or any kind of small business owner, Grow London Local gives you access to expert business support. It’s online or in person and designed for small businesses just like yours!

We can help you with:

  • Learning how to access the business finance you need
  • Finding marketing support to help boost your sales
  • Upskill your team or yourself if you are not sure where to start
  • Anything else to grow your business

Access for free today at grow.london/local

London Business Partnership

Looking for expert advice to grow your Business?  At the London Business Partnership, we see ourselves as a One-Stop Hub for growing your business.

Find out about the London Business Partnership

Property Advice Service Programme (funded by UKSPF)

Are you a start-up or a small to medium-sized business in London looking for FREE advice on business rates, understanding your lease, landlord negotiations, energy efficiency, finding commercial premises, and more?

The London Business Partnership’s Property Advice Service offers FREE masterclasses, delivered through our industry expert, Gerald Eve, on the key topical issues in the commercial property market.

For those businesses who need more specific support, we can book a one-to-one session with one of our professional advisors where they can discuss their challenge(s) in more detail.

Webinar and workshop dates:

Time: 10am to 11.30am

Date: 19 March 2024

Visit our website to register or to find more.

West London Chambers of Commerce

Operating in Hammersmith & Fulham, plus Hounslow and Ealing, West London Chambers of Commerce are a highly proactive, government award-winning, and royally recognised organisation that can help your business grow through networking and introductions, to maximise marketing and business opportunities.

Using their 8,500 subscribers and nearly 800 members plus links with their neighbours, they can help fast track your business to growth.

West London Chambers of Commerce is now the second largest and fastest growing chambers of commerce in London:

Brunel Hive - business growth and engagement support from Brunel University London

Free 45 minute online organisational needs analysis

There are 5.5 million SMEs currently trading within the UK (Gov.uk), and Yell’s research suggests 2023 could be a troubling year for many. According to the research, 1 million UK Small businesses have £1,000 or less in savings, and one in 10 (amounting to 550,126 UK businesses) aren’t confident they’ll be afloat in six months’.

To ease the burden to businesses, Brunel Hive provides upskilling solutions for staff at every level through their various workshops and masterclasses. Furthermore, Brunel Hive's commitment to connecting with local businesses has culminated in the launch of their on-site business clinics.

They have also supported numerous businesses ranging from solopreneurs to large employers, providing business clarity and developing viable and effective business strategies. The Build Back Better programme provides tailored support to help your business grow and is fully funded by European Social Funds and open to SMEs with less than 250 employees. Programme Director, Professor Ainurul Rosli, is keen that H&F Borough business benefit.

Register on the program and enjoy a free 45-minute online organisational needs analysis which will help you understand the opportunities available. Register for Brunel Hive

For more information about Brunel Hive, please visit Brunel Hive's Linktree.

Additionally, you can email: brunelbusiness@brunel.ac.uk for more information.

Help to Grow programme

Join 30,000 senior leaders taking part in a practical management training programme delivered by Brunel Business School, accredited by the Small Business Charter. The programme began in 2021 and has been impactful for small and medium sized enterprises ever since. 

The programme is built around a practical curriculum which features:

  • eight facilitated online 2-hour sessions, four practical and interactive case study workshops
  • one-to-one support from a mentor, providing you with personalised support to develop your business growth plan
  • peer networking, including peer group calls that give you the opportunity to share experiences with a small group of other small business leaders
  • access to the Alumni Programme featuring events with inspirational speakers, business clinics and networking events.

Register to join Help to Grow in 2023-24.

Virgin StartUp Empower 100  

Virgin StartUp has launched a new business support programme designed for Black, Asian and minority ethnic founders, women founders and founders with a disability, who are based in Greater London. ⁠ 

Empower100 will unlock the potential for growth and investment for startups with advice delivered by experts online and in person.

Empower100 runs for 8 weeks and prepares businesses for growth, to attract talent, get investment-ready, refine your brand, and more. ⁠The next cohort kicks off on 24 January 2024, so please submit an application before the deadline on 16 January 2024.

Don’t worry if you miss this one as the programme runs every quarter.  

For full details and to apply, visit Virgin StartUp - Empower 100.

OPDC Loans for Small Businesses (Park Royal only)

Are you a small business or workspace provider in Park Royal? Do you want to develop new or improve existing affordable workspace, or have plans to expand your business? If so, then we want to hear from you!

Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) is pleased to launch Loans for Small Businesses. We will be providing £350,000 of funding to support new and existing food manufacturing and creative businesses to expand their businesses, as well as supporting affordable workspace providers to expand their premises.

Applications for loan funding is available for capital uses for affordable workspace, up to a maximum of £150,000 including;

  • extensions to existing buildings that result in an uplift of affordable workspaces
  • mezzanines and internal building reconfigurations that result in an uplift of affordable workspaces
  • equipment and fit out costs associated with targeted business incubators
  • fit out costs
  • environmental improvements that result in an uplift in a building’s energy efficiency / EPC rating

Applications for loan funding, between £10,00 – £150,000, is available for capital uses to support micro-businesses and SMEs, including;

  • projects resulting in increased productivity and job growth
  • building works and refurbishment
  • purchase of equipment

Interest rates are linked to the Bank of England base rate, currently 5.25%

Full details are within the Loans for Small Businesses Prospectus, and you can visit the OPDC website for more details.

The British Library

Supporting entrepreneurs and innovators from that first spark of inspiration to successfully launching and growing a business.

Supporting entrepreneurs and innovators from that first spark of inspiration to successfully launching and growing a business.  Join the Library and make use of their databases and collection onsite and access a wide range of webinars, offering support to SMEs across the country, these are all available on the website alongside articles, blogs and Industry Guides.

Find out more about The British Library Business and IP Centre.

Libraries Connected: Supporting Business and Enterprise Report

Public libraries provide valuable services for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses in Britain. This report provides an overview of the services that public libraries provide, focusing on the Business and IP Centres (BIPC) delivery model with examples.

It draws on a survey of heads of libraries in England about their services related to business development and finds that 98% of library services in survey offers specialist support to entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs.  

Libraries Connected: Supporting business and enterprise Report

Help to Grow

Management course and digital support programme. Learn new skills, reach more customers and boost your profits with Help to Grow. 

Help to Grow.

Federation of Small Businesses

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is an organisation established over 40 years ago and focussed on supporting small businesses.

Membership offers a wide range of products, services, advice, information as well as resources and tools that will help you grow your business and save money.

Benefits include: legal advice, tax protection insurance, health and safety and HR online support, pension planning, business banking, as well as networking opportunities. Small businesses (up to 20 employees ) are able to apply.

Find out more about the FSB membership scheme.

Spring into Success Bootcamp - 20 March 2024

Join us on Wednesday 20 March at 9:30am for this London & South East FSB Business Bootcamp at The Business Xchange Hub (TBXH) @ Sunley House in the heart of Croydon for a transformative one-day event to help you and your business spring forward with success.

Find out more about the Spring into Success Bootcamp.

Enterprise Nation

Get the right support to start and grow your business.

Whether you’re launching a new business or developing an existing one, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

Find out more about the Enterprise Nation.

Small Business Research + Enterprise Centre

Small Business Research + Enterprise Centre provides free practical business information, international market research and company data both remotely and on site.  It is open to anyone in the UK starting, running or growing their business. There is both a free and subscription membership.

There is a varied programme of free webinars on practical business topics and 1-2-1 advice sessions staffed by qualified business advisers.

Find out more about the Small Business Research + Enterprise Centre - City of London.

The Start Up Loans Programme

The Start Up Loans programme is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and is delivered by The Start Up Loans Company (SULCo), a subsidiary of the British Business Bank.

It aims to encourage entrepreneurship in the UK, increase the rate of business creation and improve survival prospects.

More specifically, the programme offers loans (from £500 to £25,000, at 6% interest) alongside free mentoring and support to individuals who are starting a new business or who have been trading for less than two years.

Find out more about Start Up Loans.

Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF)

A £100m initiative by the Mayor of London to help support high growth SMEs across the capital.

Find out more about GLIF.

Time to Pay service

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

You are eligible if your business: 

  • pays tax to the UK government 
  • has outstanding tax liabilities.

For more information on Time to Pay, please visit GOV.UK. If you think you are eligible for support through Time to Pay, you can call 0800 0159 559 to get practical help and advice.

British Business Bank

The British Business Bank has published a new guide to building business resilience that contains information and support to help smaller businesses manage their costs, boost their long-term profitability, and increase their resilience. As well as advice on controlling overheads the guide contains information on: 

Find out more on the Guide to building business resilience.

Finance and Leasing Association

Find out more about FLA.

Mercia - Meet the Funder

Virtual ‘Meet the Funder’ event is on every Friday from 9am – Midday,

Find out more about Mercia.

Entrepreneur Handbook

The Entrepreneur Handbook is a useful guide if you are starting a business.

informi website

informi is a useful website for small business starting a business.

Setting up a social enterprise

For advice on starting a social enterprise that helps people or communities, including legal structures such as community interest companies and co-operatives, visit the GOV.UK setting up a social enterprise page.

Useful guides and resources

Cobra - online business resource

Cobra - Complete business reference adviser including opportunities, markets, financial and legal information. Cobra is a continually updated information resource for anyone who is running a small business or thinking of setting up a business. Cobra is one of the online resources made available by H&F Libraries and Archives and you will need to have a library card to log in.

You will find practical information and advice such as:

  • start up business ideas and profiles
  • guides to business support in different areas of the UK
  • business legal library covers laws and regulations applicable to small businesses
  • help to write a business or marketing plan and information on conducting research into new markets
  • market synopses provide guides to trends and opportunities in a number of market sectors.

Enterprise Nation

Expert advice and support for small businesses.

Find out more about Enterprise Nation.

Guides on running a business from home

See the GOV.UK website for home business guide (pdf), running a business from home, finance and support for your business. or support if you’re self-employed.

Guides and templates for writing business plans

Writing a business plan guide on the GOV.UK website.

The ultimate guide to business accounting

The ultimate guide to business accounting from Sage.

Virgin Start-Up

Beneficial information covering requirements for starting and scaling your business.

Find out more about Virgin Start-Up.

Sage Advice United Kingdom

Start-up wisdom for smarter businesses.

Sage Advice United Kingdom - Wisdom for smarter businesses.

My Growth Pod

Provides complete business growth support services to Pre-Start, Start Up and SME’s businesses.

Find more information about the My Growth Pod.

Business checks and regulations

Better Business for All

Better Business for All (BBfA) is a collaboration between business and regulators to enable simpler and more consistent compliance with relevant regulations. The BBfA website provides a one-stop-shop for businesses to check what is relevant to you and what to do about it.

HMRC enquiries: Complete guide for small businesses from the FSB

FSB guide to dealing with HMRC enquiries takes businesses through the process, including how long they take, what you need to do and how you can protect your business.

Get help with tax and the HMRC

Get help with tax from the GOV.UK website.

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