It’s a perennial question isn’t it? Where can I get support for my business? Especially when you’re just starting out, it’s easy to think that you have to do everything on your own. That people won’t be interested in a fledgling business like yours. Like everything is designed for the bigger, and more established businesses. But actually there’s a huge amount of support out there – you just need to know where to look and who to ask.
This blog is designed as an introduction to the range of support that is available. A starting point to help you to answer this exact question for your own business. Then over the next few weeks, we’ll be drilling down further into a range of topics, covering everything from mental health and practical support.
A one-stop support shop
Firstly, we’re here! If you’re looking for support for your business, Tabono was designed to be a one stop support shop! We can support your business in a number of ways:
- Aside from our founders, we have a team of resident experts. They bring with them a huge amount of knowledge and experience in topics ranging from PR and photography to finance and web design. So if you’re feeling stuck, get in touch and we can refer you to the perfect person who has the skills and experience that you need.
- If you’re looking to upskill, you could also take one of our courses. All of them are designed to be taken at your own pace, and are packed full of videos and downloads. So let us guide you to take what you learn and embed it in your business.
- Our unique, 2-to-1 coaching and mentoring programme provides you with highly personalised support from our co-founders. We help you to learn, break through barriers, and take your business to the next level.
- The core of the Tabono community – our Facebook group and our live events – provide you with the perfect place to ask questions, seek feedback, celebrate your wins and be supported when things don’t go so well.
But support doesn’t, of course, all need to come from the same source. The following are examples of the more targetted support that your business might need.
It’s always helpful to start with what is available locally. There are 38 Growth Hubs across England that have been designed to provide support to business. Each provides a range of services including advice, funding, training and events. You can access the whole list here and click through to the one in your local area. Support is usually free of charge.
Universities and colleges
Many universities and colleges provide support to business through offering training and enterprise support, and also direct links with students and researchers. For example, the opportunity for students to undertake an industrial placement provides invaluable on-the-job experience. And the company partner benefits from the support of an additional member of ‘staff’! Equally, an industry-led student project gives the student an opportunity to apply their knowledge, and the company partner gains all-important insights into their business. Likewise, researchers are always seeking companies to work with. This both strengthens their research and allows them apply their learning in the real world. So if you’re looking for some support for your business, why not reach out to your local university or college, and see how they can help?
The decision to bootstrap a business is a big one. It means putting your personal finances on the line and relying on the profits that your business may (hopefully!) generate to move forward. But for those looking for external financial support, there are a range of options available. Please note that the nature and level of support available will vary from region to region.
Start Up Loans
For those businesses who have been trading for less than two years, a loan of up to £25,000 is available per director. This is subject to credit checks and a fairly straightforward application process, and involves an interest rate of 6% per year. You can find more information on the Start Up Loans website.
If you’re looking for financial support for your business, it’s worth exploring what is available at local and regional level. Your local Growth Hub (see above) will be able to advise, but there’s also a handy list here. Remember that grants are not repayable, but loans are!
Financial support during coronavirus (COVID-19)
There’s no denying that small businesses have been through, and many continue to experience, and extremely turbulent time due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The links to the government’s financial support for small business and also for sole traders, can be found here. There may also be additional support available at local and regional level, and from other agencies.
If you’re looking for support for your business which focuses on innovation and research and development, funding is also available from Innovate UK. Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, provides a range of support to business including grants and opportunities for collaboration. The Knowledge Transfer Network, in conjunction with Innovate UK, focuses on connecting people in the innovation space.
We hope that this has provided some useful advice if you’re looking for some support for your business. If you have any questions, please do let us know. Otherwise check back next week for the next blog in the series which will be on support groups for business owners!