GROW YOUR BUSINESS
dedicated website providing information on all business support available from the UK government
This site offers businesses access to a list of quality-assured business mentoring organisations across Britain
London Growth Hub
learn more about how the Mayor of London can support you and your business
South East London Business Network SELBN
Your region's business network. 21st Century networking and marketing for small business.
Helps businesses develop new products and services and access technology.
Federation of Small Businesses
offers members a wide range of business services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government.
South East London Chamber of Commerce
is in business for business, providing companies with practical support and excellent networking opportunities.
Free and impartial legal guidance for businesses, including‘Quick Guides’on the legal requirements for what, where and how you sell.
Existing Business Support
Apprenticeships and Training
Apprenticeships enable young people and adult learners to train in a real job and gain a recognised qualification while earning a wage. Apprentices usually work at least 30 hours a week and must be paid at least the appropriate National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate for apprentices (which varies according to their age).
Government funding for training apprentices is available throughout the UK, and, depending on location, employers can also apply for separate grants or employer recruitment incentives if they take on an apprentice.
Hiring your apprentice
Choose an apprenticeships framework or standard for an apprenticeship in your industry and at a suitable level.
Find an organisation that offers training for the apprenticeship framework or standard you’ve chosen.
Check what funding is available.
Advertise your apprenticeship - your training organisation will do this for you through the find an apprenticeship service.
Select your apprentice and make an apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement with them.
You can use an apprenticeship training agency if you want to employ an apprentice without the responsibility for running the apprenticeship scheme.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/take-on-an-apprentice
Traineeships are government-funded training programmes that are delivered by training providers in partnership with employers, who provide interview experience and work placements to enable young people to become 'work ready'.
Traineeships are unwaged, but provide young people who need to develop their skills further before applying for apprenticeships with the opportunity to undertake training in functional skills such as maths and English, while giving them vital work experience.
Go to www.gov.uk/guidance/traineeships/ for more information about traineeships.
Training your staff
Acas provides information, advice, training and conciliation services about all aspects of employment, including recruitment.
Tel: 0300 123 1100 (Helpline)
Venture capital is a means of financing a business where a proportion of the firm's share capital - or equity - is sold in return for a cash investment in the enterprise. It means that some measure of control or ownership over the business has to be given to the new shareholder. Most, but not all, venture capital investors are looking to make quite large investments, often over £1 million, which excludes them from providing finance to the majority of start ups. The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA, www.bvca.co.uk) publishes a list of member firms, their contact details and the types of funding that they provide.
Business angels are private investors who look for opportunities to invest money into new or growing small firms. Most regions of the UK provide services that match business angels with suitable start ups, which encourages local investment and mentoring on a small scale. The UK Business Angels Association (www.ukbaa.org.uk) matches business angels with small firms requiring equity finance. Angels Den (www.angelsden.com) runs regional workshops for young companies looking for angel funding. Business angels typically want to invest funds of between £10,000 and £100,000, although they can also form syndicates of investors who will invest larger amounts.
Crowdfunding is a method of financing that enables a large number of people to invest a very small amount of money in a business. A business seeking investment is usually matched with potential investors online via specialist crowdfunding platforms such as Crowdcube (www.crowdcube.com) and Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com).
Equity crowdfunding enables groups of investors to receive shares in the business in exchange for their investment. The value of their stake in the business can go up or down, as with any investment in shares.
The UK Crowdfunding Association has published more information about crowdfunding, which can be viewed at www.ukcfa.org.uk.
Improving your customer base
Lots of businesses can look good on paper but it is a good idea to test your business idea to really know how successful it is.
Test trading allows you to practice whether you are able to sell your product or service. The key to successful test trading is to plan what you hope to achieve:
Where will you test trade and why? For example, will you rent a market stall or trade on the street?
How much will it cost?
Will you need a licence?
How many products will you aim to sell and at what price? How many products will you need to sell and at what price to prove your market?
What do you hope to learn?
There are lots of places where you could test trade. You could:
rent a market stall for a short period to practise selling your product or introduce people to your service – selling in and amongst seasoned market trades people is also a good learning curve and will help you to improve your sales skills!
sell at street fairs or flea markets to judge demand for your product or service – selling at street fairs, flea markets or holiday markets only requires a temporary street vendor licence.
go door-to-door with a sample of your product – you won’t be able to take any money for your sample and will have to inform samplers if your product is food or drink that you can’t take responsibility, for example, for any allergic reaction a taster might have.
Test Trading in Bexley:
If you are a trader and wish to use the public highway to sell goods, place out a shop display of any type or place out tables and chairs for eating or drinking you will need a Temporary Street Trading Licence.
Getting a licence
Applications must be made in writing 28 days prior to trading and you will be asked to provide specific information, including details of the area you wish to use.
You must comply with any conditions attached to a licence.
If you intend trading in food and/or drinks see Food Safety concerning food hygiene/safety certificates.
Representing a charity
Charity collections are licensed by the Metropolitan Police.
Going from door to door
Pedlars licences, where you go from house to house are available to residents of the London Borough of Bexley from the Metropolitan Police by emailing email@example.com
Trading in Bexleyheath Broadway
If you wish to apply for a Street Trading Licence in the Broadway Pedestrian Area, Bexleyheath, you need to contact:
BID (Business Improvement District)
Bexleyheath Business Partnership Ltd
C/O Bexley Central Library
2 Townley Road
Kent DA6 7HJ
telephone 020 8304 0775
For more information visit: www.bexley.gov.uk/services/licensing-and-permits/licensing
Council Commercial Property
The Council's Property Services Division is responsible for sales and rentals of all surplus Council commercial property