Starting a business

Starting a business requires careful planning, research and preparation.

There’s help to support you in taking your first steps from a range of organisations locally and nationally. Take a look at the opportunities below to see which offer best fits with your plans to start your own business.

Find out about start-up business funding go on our grants and funding web page.

Local sources of support

Nwes offers advice and training, access to finance, resources and mentoring for those wishing to start their own business. You can attend their free one-to-one business drop-ins at South Cambridgeshire District Council's offices or one of their free two day 1st Steps to Start-Up workshops which covers the key areas of how to start a business and learning on how to plan and present financial forecasts. Have a look at our Latest News page to find out more.

Signpost2grow provides free resources and guidance to individuals considering starting a business of their own. They can also signpost potential entrepreneurs to other sources of support including grants and finance.  

You can test your business idea with Allia’s Serious Impact Programme giving you the confidence and model you need to build a sustainable business. The 30-day Challenge is free however you will need to complete an initial Challenge workshop so that your idea can be evaluated.

The Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge offers a range of interesting resources for entrepreneurs to help you start your business successfully through its Entrepreneurship Centre.

Government support

GOV.UK is the Government's online resource for businesses. It contains essential information, support and services for start-up businesses including advice and information if you are planning to run your business from home.

The Government’s Great Business website provides further information about starting up and running a business and it also has a business support helpline 0300 456 3565 that is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.

HMRC provides free webinars, emails and videos on a range of topics including help and support if you’re self employed and with self assessment, VAT and employing people.

HMRC also has a dedicated online forum for new businesses and self-employed individuals to get help and support.

The Intellectual Property Office provides information to help you protect your intellectual property.

If you are currently claiming unemployment benefit and would like to set up your own business, talk to your Jobcentre Plus personal advisor about help to become self-employed. The Enterprise Allowance Scheme can provide money and support to help an unemployed person start a business.

Other start-up support

The British Library Business & IP Centre (BIPC) offers a range of free and low cost resources, face to face advice sessions, workshops and events to help businesses with everything from protecting their intellectual property rights to running a Linkedin business page.

Service-leavers, veterans, military spouses, reservists and cadets (over 18) who would like to start-up a business can contact X-Forces Enterprise for advice and support.

The Prince’s Trust works with 18 to 30-year-olds to turn big ideas into a business reality through their Enterprise programme. You could benefit from training and mentoring support, funding and resources.

Shell LiveWIRE supports innovative young entrepreneurs in the UK with ideas that meet the energy and resource needs of a fast-growing population.

The Carbon Trust’s START2ACT programme for young small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups provides free energy efficiency consulting and mentoring.

The FSB have a Start Up Business Advice line (03332 341 082) which is staffed by specialist business advisors who guide entrepreneurs in taking their first steps in setting up their own business. They also have a range of online documents.

The British Franchise Association (BFA) provides advice and training if you are thinking of joining a franchise.

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