Starting up and running a business
General business advice
Gov.uk has advice on starting up and running a business including information on tax and finance.
Dorset Growth Hub
Dorset Growth Hub has advice and support for new and existing businesses. They can advise on business start up, business growth, finance, marketing, digital capabilities and employment and skills. They also offer free courses across Dorset which cover the essentials of running a business.
Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership
The Dorset LEP is a business led private and public sector partnership that aims to create more jobs and promote local economic growth, acting as a strategic gateway to funding.
Dorset Gateway is the new central repository of advice and support from Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership for all sizes of businesses in Dorset, providing them with a business support service and signposting to the most appropriate local or national commercial or public funded assistance available to help them grow.
Federation of Small Businesses
The Federation of Small Businesses provides support for the small business and self-employed sector.
Outset in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch
Outset offer support from set up to early trading.
Mentoring for small businesses
Dorset Business Mentors (Dormen) recruits experienced business and professional people as volunteers to help small developing businesses, by providing a mentoring service to them. It can help you work through the best business decisions, formulate and test business plans and solve problems.
Grow your business overseas
The Department for International Trade (DIT) provides expert trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies who want to grow their business overseas. Businesses can receive enquiries from potential overseas customers from day one. DIT supports many thousands of companies each year, and has locally-based trade advisers, helping companies to take their first order and start building an international business.
Dorset Chamber of Commerce can offer advice in:
- export readiness
- export finance
- getting goods to market
- international market access
- overseas marketing
Chambers of Commerce
Chambers of Commerce are local associations which promote and protect the interests of the business community. They can provide advice or put you in touch with expert assistance.
Mentoring for digital organisations
Silicon South is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to accelerating the digital economy in Dorset, which is one of the fastest growing creative and digital hubs in Europe.
Apply online to get free one-to-one mentoring from successful digital entrepreneurs.
Food and farming industry support
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. You may wish to contact them for sector regulations, funding opportunities or general support and advice.
Support for engineering and manufacturing businesses
The Dorset Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) was created to provide a voice for the sector across Dorset, enabling companies to collaborate, become more sustainable, deliver to their full potential and be recognised for doing so. Join the EMC.