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Starting up a business

Free support to get you started

Starting a business can be exciting and daunting in equal measure. If you have a new business idea, but don’t know how to get started, our team at the Berkshire Growth Hub is here to help.

Pre-accelerator Programme

As well as the advice on this website, we offer a free Pre-accelerator Programme to provide you with the knowledge you need to turn your ideas into a viable business. This five-week course includes a mix of workshops, networking and mentoring sessions. It covers everything from creating a business plan and finding funding to pitching your business and developing sales and marketing strategies. 

You can apply for the Pre-accelerator programme if you haven’t yet registered your business. For more information on this programme and the eligibility criteria, click here.

High Growth Programme

If you have already registered your business and it has the potential for rapid growth and job creation, you may be eligible for our High Growth Programme. Our High Growth service provides tailored support for ambitious small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). For more information on the programme and the eligibility criteria, click here.

Key considerations when starting a business

There are lots of things to think about when starting a business, from how you will test your idea to choosing a legal structure and writing a business plan. 

How to turn your idea into a reality

You can access a range of advice on developing a start-up business on the Companies House website.

Choosing the right legal structure for your business

Sole trader or limited company? If you are a sole trader, you run your own business as an individual and are self-employed, but you are personally responsible for your business’ debts. If you set-up as a limited company, its finances are separate from your personal finances, but there are more reporting and management responsibilities.  This page will help you decide which type of business is right for you. There is also a useful blog from Companies House here.

Registering your company

If you want to operate as a limited company, you’ll need to register with Companies House. Click here to find out how. Talk to your accountant about how this may affect your tax.  You can find a list of local accountants in our Marketplace directory here.

Write a business plan

You should write a business plan as it will help you set objectives, identify your target market, set out marketing strategies, plan your finances and forecast sales. You’ll also need a business plan if you want to secure investment or a loan. Find out more about a writing a business plan here or contact us.

How to finance your business

You can find an overview of the different options for funding your new business on our Finance and Funding page

Recruiting staff

If you’re a first time employer, this website will be of help. You can also find information on recruiting staff, training and skills, on our People & Skills page.

Where to locate your business

You may want to run your business from home (find out more here) or need to find suitable premises. Legal implications of renting or leasing premises can be found here  but there are also other considerations. Information on finding the right premises and business rates can be found here.

Additional information

Our website also offers advice on the following topics. Click a link to go to that page:

National Business Helpline

You can also find more help to answer your questions about starting a business by contacting the National Business Helpline on 0800 998 1098 or emailing 

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