3.2 Face-to-face support
A lot of face-to-face small business support and training is provided at a regional or local level, which can give you a useful perspective if your idea/product/service is aimed at a local audience.
As before, you don’t need to follow these links now, but if a particular resource catches your eye have a quick look at it to familiarise yourself with the content and then come back to this page. You’ll then get an opportunity to look in more detail in Activity 4.
(Remember, to ensure you don’t lose your place in this course you should open these in a new browser window or tab. To do this on a computer hold the Ctrl key (or Cmd on a Mac) when you click a link and select to open it in a new window or tab.)
Search for your regional chamber and investigate what they have to offer. It may include individual advice on a range of issues, access to useful networks and groups or relevant training events.
The British Library Business & IP Centre has a National Network that provides entrepreneurs and small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK with free access to databases, market research, journals, directories and reports worth thousands of pounds. There is also a programme of free and low-cost events and workshops on a range of topics including business planning, marketing and intellectual property.
Business Support Helplines
Government helplines that provide free advice:
Business Support Helpline (England) Telephone: 0300 456 3565, firstname.lastname@example.org, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Business Gateway (Scotland) Telephone: 0300 013 4753, Textphone: 0800 023 2071, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Business Wales Helpline Telephone: 0300 060 3000, Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:30pm
Invest Northern Ireland Telephone: 0800 181 4422, Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
The network of 38 Growth Hubs are local public/private sector partnerships led by the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). They join up national and local business support so it is easy for businesses to find the help they need. They offer impartial, expert advice and their services are free to use.
A youth charity that provides small business support and advice for 18–30-year olds – from online resources to enterprise training programmes.
Watch this short video to see an example of how one regional Growth Hub helps start-up businesses.
Several of the freelancers featured in the introductory video benefited from attending short courses aimed directly at people starting their own businesses. Listen to Lucy share her experience here.
If you decide to undertake some small business training, depending on the provider there will sometimes be a fee, but this is often highly subsidised.