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Funding, support and advice

General support

  • Essex County Council - The County Council receive government funding for the BEST Growth Hub, which provides businesses in Essex with a single point of access to a wide range of local, regional and national support. Please visit the Essex County Council website to find information, advice and support for new, established and growing businesses in Essex.
  • 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.
  • Federation of Small Businesses gives advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed
  • Help to Grow provides everything you need to know to start a business, grow your business or get exporting
  • Colbea provides business training programmes and courses to help you successfully start-up and grow your business
  • Essex Trading Standards is part of Essex County Council and responsible for making sure businesses and consumers understand their legal rights and responsibilities in relation to legislation that falls within its remit
  • FRP Advisory is a business advisory firm that gives advice on corporate finance, debt advisory, financial advisory, forensic accounting and restructuring advisory. FRP work with multinational organisations to small enterprises to develop effective strategies for a broad range of situations.
  • Citizens Advice South Essex is an independent organisation specialising in confidential information and advice to help people with legal, debt, consumer, housing and other problems. Their network of independent charities offer free confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person. Citizens Advice is a registered charity reliant on trained volunteers and funds to provide these vital services for local communities.
  • Working Well is a free workplace health support programme for organisations of any size and sector in Essex, aiming to help embed mental health awareness within an organisation, provide specialist HR management support, training and offer an accreditation to recognise an organisations commitment to health and wellbeing
  • The Prince's Trust helps people aged 18 to 30 start their own business with free support, advice and access to business grants and loans
  • Brentwood Environmental Business Alliance (BEBA) was launched in October 2021 to support companies who want to reduce their environmental impact. 

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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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