Business support and advice
Information about starting up and running a business in the UK.
Contact us to find out how we can help you and what we are doing to support local businesses:
Local business support organisations
Best Growth Hub
Best Growth Hub offers free scale up advice to businesses with aspirations of 50% turnover growth in 5 years. It can also provide SEBB (South East Business Boost) grants of up to 30% of the costs of eligible projects with the remaining 70% being provided by your business.
For more information and to find out your eligibility for support from their team, speak to one of their business navigators on 01702 417765 or visit the BEST Growth Hub website.
Essex Federation of Small Businesses
The Federation of Small Businesses is non-profit making and non-party political and is the UK’s largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms. Epping Forest is further represented by the South West Essex branch of the FSB.
Harlow Enterprise Hub
Harlow Enterprise Hub provides a modern, supportive working environment for new and existing businesses. Tenants also have access to sound, impartial business advice and business support services as part of their tenancy agreement.
Invest ESSEX is an investment promotion agency (IPA) and business support provider, promoting the opportunity of Essex as a prime UK business location to international and UK companies. Invest ESSEX guides and supports businesses through every stage of business relocation, expansion or scale-up. If you would like impartial advice on expanding your business please contact a relevant member of the Invest ESSEX team via this link.
Let’s Do Business Start Up
This community finance company provides start up loans to businesses that may have been refused support from commercial banks and lenders.
The Ongar Business Centre (OBC)
Invest ESSEX also operates and manages the Ongar Business Centre. The centre offers a stimulating, supportive and managed working environment for 26 businesses. Tenants and virtual tenants at OBC benefit from a full range of business support services including expert advice, funding, finance and access to academic & commercial contacts. If you would like to find out about available space at the centre please follow this link.
National business support organisations
Support, advice and inspiration for growing your business. An online chat/phone service to help businesses with all sorts of enquiries. It has dedicated information pages on starting a business as well as on exporting goods and services. It also provides information on government policy that may affect businesses.
GOV.UK – Self-employment
Information on what you need to do for tax and national insurance purposes when you start up a business as a self-employed person, a partnership or a limited company.
GOV.UK – Setting up
GOV.UK is the Government’s online resource for businesses. What you need to do to set up depends on your type of business, where you work and whether you take people on to help.
Department for International Trade
If you are a company based in Essex and interested or involved in exporting goods and services, the best organisation to contact is Department for International Trade (DIT) East. DIT East exists to support companies in the East of England that want to trade and invest overseas.
The Prince’s Trust
If you are interested in setting up your own business and you are aged from 18 to 30, unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week, the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme can help you decide whether self-employment is right for you.
Shell LiveWire is an online community for young entrepreneurs aged between 16 and 30 years old. It offers free online business advice and the smarter future programme awards £5,000 funding to one new budding young entrepreneur in the UK every month.