Business Startup and Growth Contacts

The websites and information below can help with information about starting a business, it is by no means a complete list – there is a wealth of support and advice available in Kent and nationally. Please feel free to get in touch if you require more information or advice just call: 03000 421 163

Tax

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) – The BIG scary HMRC, they are not all that bad and have plenty of useful guides and tools to help you out. They are the organisation responsible for the majority of tax collection including business and personal declarations. 

Thinking of working for yourself? – So you’ve got an idea and want to start out on your own. This booklet provides some information you may find useful.

Giving your business the best start with tax – The different types of tax and contributions you must pay depends on what you do. This booklet gives you more information on the different taxes and contributions associated with business, personal and employee status.

Business Loans and Funding in Kent

Let’s Do Business Group – Start Up Loans, Business Growth Loans, Grants and the opportunity to pick their brains about the right way to finance your business, it’s well worth picking their brains.

SMARTA Start Up Loans – Your route to government backed funds set aside specifically for people starting and growing their businesses. They offer anyone who has been trading for less than 12 months the chance to access up to £10,000, brilliant mentoring and expansive support to turn a business idea into a huge success.

Open 4 Funding – The business support funding website with the ability to specify and tailor your search ranging from grants, funds, competitions, prizes even community and social enterprise.

Business Loans and Funding administered by Kent County Council can include loans and funding for innovation, growth, green initiatives, employment, apprenticeships and empty property. Some funding will be specific to local districts across Kent, register your interest on the page to be kept updated.

Business Support Organisations

Business Support Helpline A highly flexible service with impartial expert advisers available 9am-6pm everyday during the week with flexibility to get in touch with them however you please. Give them a call, use web chat or even get in touch via social media. They can answer your business questions to support you and your business, whether you’re starting up or already a small business based in England.

Kent and Medway Growth Hub This fully funded service is designed to help new and existing businesses find the most suitable type of business support available in their area, in this case – Kent. The local team of ‘Business Support Navigators’ can help you identify relevant programmes; initiatives or funding schemes currently on offer across Kent & Medway and can help you access them.

Gov.uk: Start Your Own Business – Bitesized steps to guide you through turning your business ideas in to a reality.

Gov.uk: Business and Self Employed – A-Z extensive host of information, guides, advice and information, well worth a visit.

Business Toolkit – Vast opportunities to access business guides for any industry/sector, marketing databases, market research tools, funding, legal and company information including credit checks. It’s well worth using the ‘Ask A Kent Librarian’ feature they can access financial, credit and ownership details for all registered UK companies, research market sectors and build lists for your sales and marketing campaign and have access to a whole bank of step by step business guides for any business from gardening to manufacturing.

The Prince’s Trust – The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme helps you to explore whether you want to be self-employed, explore the potential of your business idea and more importantly to discover your own potential for success. Suitable for anyone aged 18-30 unemployed or working less than 16 hours per week.

National Centre for Micro Business – With free support and 1-2-1 advice in Kent The National Centre for Micro Business acts as an umbrella for a diverse group of business specialists who have set out to provide support, guidance and practical input to get micro businesses up and running fast – and professionally.

Shell LiveWIRE – Offer free start up business advice, case studies and online support

Business Networking In Kent

Business networking is still an extremely important element in any business strategy and face to face still ranks as one of the most crucial factors in closing a business deal and forging ongoing business relationships. Kent is alive with business networking opportunities both free and paid for, so to help you get your diary active we have compiled a list of business networking organisations and event finders.

Useful Download – Business Networking in Kent – Event Finder

Trading Standards

Offer professional advice on the following:

    • Consumer and Trader rights (including distance selling etc.)
    • Fair trading (including pricing)
    • Consumer credit
    • Sale of second hand goods
    • Sale of age restricted goods (e.g. alcohol, cigarettes)
    • Safety of consumer goods
    • Food labelling and composition
    • Weights and measures
    • Farming, animal health and welfare, animal feed
    • Business scams

KCC Trading Standards is committed to supporting businesses and understands that setting up a new business can be challenging. For the latest news and alerts sign up to their newsletter or follow on Twitter.

Kent business startup and growth advice from your local council

You’ll need the guys and girls in the economic development teams across the Kent Councils in order to apply for specific trading licenses, property and planning applications and business rates.

Business Support in Ashford – Ashford Borough Council

Business Support in Canterbury – Canterbury City Council – Give the Start My Biz and Grow My Biz pages a visit for dedicated information on business support in Canterbury.

Business Support in Dartford – Dartford Borough Council

Business Support in Dover – Dover District Council

Business Support in Gravesend – Gravesham Borough Council

Business Support in Maidstone-  Maidstone Borough Council – Also don’t forget to visit Business in Maidstone too with innovative, flexible office space available at The Business Terrace.

Business Support in Medway – Medway Council

Business Support in Sevenoaks – Sevenoaks District Council

Business Support in Folkestone – Shepway District Council

Business Support in Swale – Swale Borough Council – You’ll also want to check out Swale Means Business for dedicated business support in the Swale area.

Business Support in Thanet – Thanet District Council

Business Support in Tonbridge – Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

Business Support in Tunbridge Wells – Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

Solicitors

A solicitor will help you identify any legal issues to protect you from them.

The Law Society of England and Wales

Accountants

Not just there to do your book keeping, many accountants will help you analyse your financial records and your business to help you succeed and grow.

Institute of Chartered Accountants

Association of Chartered & Certified Accountants

Other Useful Sites:

Start Your Own Business –  Information on running your own business with a section specifically aimed at Kent

Small Business –  Information on business start up plus additional services and information that could help your business grow

Startups – Full of useful guides and stories from becoming a franchisor to an entrepreneur, from finance to marketing, over to latest news and resources all about starting up in business

Associated Websites:

Young Enterprise – Works in partnership with volunteers from local businesses to inspire and equip thousands of young people each year to learn and succeed through enterprise programmes in schools, colleges and universities.

GradsKent Designed to help find Kent-based employment for graduates and students.

Talent Match South East – Talent Match is a Big Lottery Fund project that helps young people aged 18 to 24 who are out of work for more than 12 months. The Kent Foundation supports this project as a delivery partner supporting self employment in Kent.

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