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Your Guide to New Business Support in Hampshire

a sapling growing with support from old tree

Starting a new business is never easy, especially during times of political and economic turbulence. But during 2019, even with Brexit looming on the horizon, entrepreneurs in Hampshire certainly weren’t daunted. In fact, this was a record year for the county as more new businesses were established than in any other year. Indeed, some 15,174 new companies were registered, a figure that was up 6.5% on the previous year.

If you’re thinking of setting up a new business in Hampshire, it’s a good idea to seek support from public and industry sector partners. This can be achieved by business networking, seeking advice and increasing your connections within your local area, as well as looking at initiatives available in your area.

Here’s a selection of support available in our region:

  • Government start-up loan

If you’re looking for a financial boost, you have two options: business grants and loans. While we wouldn’t usually advocate borrowing, this Government loan scheme is actually a great option to help you start or grow a business. It’s an unsecured loan, and funds of £500 to £25,000 are available. There’s also a free mentoring service, to help you write your business plan. To apply, click on this link.

  • Hampshire Chamber of Commerce

This private-sector organisation is not for profit and is owned and led by its membership. Comprised of approximately 2,000 local businesses, this is an excellent resource for both new business owners and established companies. There are numerous member benefits, including offers and discounts for smaller businesses, legal and HR advice, and access to training events. The networking opportunities are excellent, and will definitely help to raise your profile within the region. We think this is a great resource, particularly if you’re a start-up. To become a member, click here.

  • Federation of Small Businesses

By joining the Federation of Small Businesses, you’ll become part of a powerful community that not only provides extensive support for small businesses but also lobbies government on your behalf. Member benefits include advice, financial products and support. There’s also an award-winning quarterly magazine and website, First Voice, that highlights business news and issues arising in the small business community.

  • Enterprise Business South

Enterprise Business South brings together entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators and public bodies to enhance business growth in the region. The organisation helps businesses at all life stages but has a particularly impressive suite of services for start-ups. This includes help in securing funding of up to £25,000, as well as business advice and mentoring. The organisation provides training and coaching at various locations across the south, allowing you to connect and network with like-minded business owners. Even if you don’t join, the site provides really useful links to template documents, including how to write a business plan, profit and loss forecasting, press release writing and much more.

  • Enterprise M3 LEP Growth Hub

Enterprise M3 LEP is a business-led partnership, and the growth hub has been created to help businesses realise their full growth potential. The organisation gets its name from the M3 corridor, and its influence stretches from the south of London, across Hampshire and into the south-west of Surrey. EM3 LEP brings together business leaders, public and not for profit sectors to help sustain business growth in the region. The Enterprise M3 Growth Hub is an excellent resource and offers tailored advice for businesses, especially start-ups. Specialist advice includes: sourcing funding opportunities, registering your business, writing a business plan, finding premises and building your network.

  • Solent LEP Growth Hub

The aim of this free service is to simplify your route to access the business support you need. If your company is based in the Solent area, this site has an excellent directory, including links to local and national organisations, both in the public and private sectors. By accessing the Solent LEP Growth Hub, you get instant access to a number of services, including funding, sales and marketing, business innovation, mentoring and coaching, and more.  Given how stressful setting up your own business can be, we think this is an invaluable resource.

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and starting up your own business then we wish you the best of luck! Just as with the physical site of a store, this is all about location, location, location, and the same holds true for SEO. You’ll need to be found. Don’t be put off by the big players, and think you can’t compete, because with the right advice you most definitely can quickly rise up the rankings and get seen by potential clients. Contact us today and learn how we can help you be a success, right out of the starting gate.

Samantha Hathway
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    Peter Clarke, PPG Proofreading
  • "One area in which Leapfrog has excelled is communication. Any queries are always promptly dealt with and we also receive excellent monthly reporting, with videos that clearly explain our progress. This is great as it gives us a clear picture of what’s going on."

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