Business Startup & Growth Contacts
The websites and information below can help with information about starting or growing a business in Kent, 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
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.
Gov.uk – Set Up A Business – Information about starting up and running a business in the UK, including starting your business, business planning, working for yourself, growing your business, help and support, registering your business and plenty of other links and guides.
Business Loans and Funding in Kent
Start Up Loans in Kent is a government-backed personal loan available to individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. In addition to finance, successful applicants receive 12-months of free mentoring and exclusive business offers to help them succeed. The loan is unsecured, so there’s no need to put forward any assets or guarantors to support an application. All owners or partners in a business can individually apply for up to £25,000 each, with a maximum of £100,000 available per business.
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.
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 in Kent administered by Kent County Council which 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.
Kent Libraries Business Startup and Growth Resources – 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.
Kent Film Office is the first port of call for productions thinking about filming in Kent. Since its launch in 2006 it has assisted many productions – including recent productions such as Darkest Hour, Wonder Woman, Wolf Hall, Into the Woods, and The Tunnel – as well as many short films, low budget features, commercials, music videos and stills shoots. The Kent Film Office offers assistance to film and broadcast productions including obtaining film permits for public areas (requires 5 working days’ notice), introductions to local contacts and finding out who owns the land you would like to use. Productions are kept up to date with career vacancies, funding and training opportunities via alerts from the @filminginkent Twitter account including opportunities for film festival submissions and film industry trade events.
Kent Investors Network – Seeking Angel Investment?If you are an entrepreneur with S/EIS qualification, and would like to pitch to high-net worth investors, register and create your company page for investors to explore. KIN is keen to achieve a vigorous and active role in assisting entrepreneurs in the County to receive investment for their growing businesses.
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.
Start Your Own Business – Download a free business startup pack specific to Kent, plus you have the opportunity to search for business support in a specific area of Kent.
Shell LiveWIRE – Offer free start up business advice, case studies and online support
Young Startup Talent – A business pitch competition with combined business support aimed at young people aged 16-25 to develop their business startup ideas. You could be in with a chance to win a package of support worth £50,000. Competitions in West Kent and East Kent.
Kent 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
Kent 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.
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
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 and advice in Ashford – Ashford Borough Council
Business Support and advice in Dartford – Dartford Borough Council
Business Support and advice in Dover – Dover District Council
Business Support and advice in Gravesend – Gravesham Borough Council
Business Support and advice in Medway – Medway Council
Business Support and advice in Sevenoaks – Sevenoaks District Council
Business Support and advice in Folkestone – Shepway District Council
Business Support and advice in Thanet – Thanet District Council
Business Support and advice in Tonbridge – Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
Business Support and advice in Tunbridge Wells – Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
A solicitor will help you identify any legal issues to protect you from them.
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.
Other Useful Sites
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
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.
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 and unemployed for more than 12 months. The Kent Foundation supports this project as a delivery partner supporting self employment in Kent.
We aim to keep this page up to date but if you spot an out of date link or think there’s some important info we are missing please give us a shout.