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Funding, support and advice

General support

Training, development and HR

  • Provide - specialist healthcare training service offering classroom-based training and one to one competency assessments in healthcare tasks. The service covers the whole of Essex and is commissioned to work with establishments who receive funding either through Essex County Council or Short Breaks funding.
  • Twin Training - a comprehensive range of employer services to help you drive the productivity and profitability of your business. Their staffing solutions can help you expand your team on a temporary or permanent basis or improve the skills of your existing staff.
  • Able Futures - delivers the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service for employees and apprentices who have something on their mind that’s affecting their time at work.
  • The LightBulb​ – if you have staff at risk of redundancy or have recently made redundancies, The LightBulb can offer fully funded packages to retrain or support these staff to regain confidence and find new career pathways, if live or work in Essex (including Southend-on-Sea or Thurrock).
  • Colbea - a range of business training programmes and courses to help you successfully start-up and grow your business.
  • ACAS - Training, events and tailored support to help you deal with workplace problems and keep up to date with best practice.
  • NWES​ - a not-for-profit enterprise agency providing total business support to boost self-employment and encourage enterprise.

Capital investment

  • Angels@Essex​ - an invitation-only investment platform that links angel investors to entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, allowing new disruptive technologies to flourish.
  • British Business Bank​ - a government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. Whether you’re looking for finance to start a business, grow to the next level, or stay ahead of the competition, the British Business Bank offers a choice of finance.
  • Backing Essex Business - fully-funded by Essex County Council and delivered by Let’s Do Business Group, Backing Essex Business can provide SMEs with up to 12 hours of fully-funded advice and guidance, as well as loans for business growth and start-ups.
  • FSE Group - providing high-growth businesses with accessible market-gap funding since 2002. They work with stakeholders and partners, including British Business Bank, Funding London and Local Enterprise Partnerships, to deliver regional funding that supports job creation and economic prosperity.
  • Good Finance - a collaborative project to help improve access to information on social investment for charities and social enterprises
  • Innovate UK - Loans for innovation projects to help SMEs scale up and grow, focusing on late-stage research and development (R&D) projects with a clear path to commercialisation. £150 million has been approved for continuation of the innovation loans programme over three years post 2022 and they are typically for £100,000 to £2 million.
  • Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) helps businesses become more competitive and profitable while protecting the environment and encouraging low carbon solutions
  • UK Export Finance​ (UKEF) - UK government’s export credit agency, working in partnership with banks and brokers to help businesses realise their ambitions, offering finance and insurance to help your business export your goods and services

Technology adoption

  • I-Construct - offers small businesses in the construction supply chain free membership to get support to improve their bottom line, access to significant projects in South-East England and opportunities for grant funding
  • The Eastern Cyber Resilience Centre (ECRC) - partnering with Essex Police, ECRC offers  free support to defend against online crime threats. You can get business alerts about regional and national threats, access to the Little Steps programme and signposting to free tools and resources from both policing and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
  • The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) - the UK’s independent authority on cyber security, with vast technical capabilities and expertise which they utilise to produce practical guidance for businesses and the public
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) - The ESRC, based at the University of Essex, can help uncover the power and insight hidden in business data, optimising the potential for machine learning, artificial intelligence and analytics. Through ESRC, you can access funded consultancy, training and events. Projects that require more support can access funding through a Data Analytics Innovation Voucher (DAIV).
  • Essex Innovation Vouchers​ - vouchers of up to £10,000 can provide your small or medium-sized business with funding to engage with University of Essex expertise to get tailored consultancy
  • ECC Climate Commission​ - an independent body set up by Essex County Council to advise on how best to tackle the climate challenge and become a net zero emissions county as well as exploring how to attract investment in natural capital and low carbon growth
  • Catapult Centres -  a network of world-leading technology and innovation centres established by Innovate UK, they deliver impact across the UK economy, enabling businesses to thrive in global markets and support businesses in transforming great ideas into valuable products and services

Sales and marketing

  • Department for International Trade - Get advice on exporting, identifying new markets.  expand your audience and reach and drive tangible growth
  • UK Export Academy - Brought to you by the Department for International Trade, the UK Export Academy is a free training programme to discover your export potential, increase your confidence, and upskill your knowledge of overseas sales delivered online or face-to-face learning.
  • Manufacturing Growth Programme/Oxford Innovation​ - the UK’s largest and leading business support programme helping SME manufacturers grow by identifying, understanding and removing barriers to growth
  • Digital Boost​ - a community of volunteer experts who help small businesses and charities thrive through free 1 to 1 sessions with a business mentor or join a Masterclass for help on strategy, digital marketing, finance, operations and more
  • Enterprise Nation - Mentors from BT and Google will share expertise and ideas on how to improve your digital marketing and social media strategies, become more discoverable on Search and more

Leadership and management

  • Help to Grow: Management​ Course - Designed and delivered by entrepreneurs and industry experts at world-class business schools, this leadership course provides opportunities to invest in your leadership, learn how to take your business to the next level and will help you boost the performance and resilience of your business
  • Be The Business Mentoring - matches leaders from small and medium-sized businesses with executives from some of the UK’s leading companies including Accenture, Amazon, John Lewis, Lloyds and Siemens

Business helplines

For more guidance, email