Starting a new business can be daunting – there’s loads to do, funds may be limited and you need to be an ‘expert’ in everything. However don’t despair there is lots of help at hand -its just quite difficult to find it sometimes.

As a relatively new business myself I have navigated my way through various websites, events and conversations but have struggled to find one place where you can see what is available. Hence I thought it might be useful for other new (and in some cases not so ‘new’) businesses to have some pointers and a brief summary of what I have found so far. Its not a comprehensive of everything available as I’m sure there is more I haven’t come across yet and it is geographically focussed to North Yorkshire (including Leeds) but it provides some pointers of places to look.

Firstly, wherever you live I recommend starting with your local enterprise partnership (otherwise known as a LEP). There are 38 LEPs across England and their purpose is to promote economic growth and jobs in local areas.  They will be able to point you in the right direction and suggest contacts and/or workshops that could support your business. In the Yorkshire region (covering York, North Yorkshire and East Riding) there is a great website, that lists out the support available depending on whether you are starting your business or are already established and want to grow your business. There are useful articles, events listed as well as a comprehensive list of funded support available. Depending on your business sector and whether you sell your products/services to either another business or consumer will determine which funding might be more appropriate. There are four that I will highlight as I have had personal experience of them:

  • Manufacturing Growth Programme – need a helping hand? Grants of 35% to help with consultancy support covering a range of topics including business planning, marketing, and R&D
  • Supporting Innovation in Agri-Food sector (SIAFS) – a range of free workshops, events and voucher scheme for food businesses
  • Digital Advantage – the use of digital technologies is essential to any business these days. This scheme runs 2 full day workshops on all aspects of social media around the region, supported with 40% grant funding or 1-2-1 tailored support.
  • Ad-venture – this offers a comprehensive range of support tailored to businesses in their early years. There is a full events programme with a variety of workshops, 1-2-1 support, together with up to 50% grant funding.

For all of the schemes listed above you need to satisfy the eligibility criteria and some of the schemes are due to end in March 2019. I have also found by being involved and attending some of these events and workshops I’ve also got to meet lots of interesting people and businesses and even potential clients.

Secondly think about networking events – these are great way to meet other business owners and also get some tips and recommendations when starting out. Some of this advice can be invaluable in your early months. Networking events tend to fall into 2 distinct camps – paid for and free ones. In this area we are fortunate in having a couple of great free monthly events, #HarrogateHour Live and #WetherbyHour Live so find out if there is something similar in your area. I’ve also recently discovered Leeds Trinity Business Network – again free – bimonthly lunches and a winning combination of networking and guest speaker on a business topic. So its worth contacting your local tertiary education colleges so see if they offer something.

Hopefully some of the above information will prove helpful.

Work with Jo …

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You might also like to check out my more recent article support for  your business so the sky’s the limit