Starting up and running a businesses
Gov.uk has advice on starting up and running a business including information on tax and finance.
Community Catalysts runs a free development programme which can support you to become self employed or to run your own small enterprise, offering help at home for people in your community.
As well as helping people to set up new businesses, Community Catalysts can advise existing community enterprises already established in Dorset who are looking to diversify or extend what they offer.
Community enterprises can be set up in a variety of ways; as a sole trader, partnership, small business, social enterprise, charity or voluntary organisation.
Dorset Community Action - Inspire Dorset Programme
Inspire Dorset is designed to support unemployed people through 1-2-1 or group coaching, towards self-employment, setting up a business/enterprise or safely testing out an idea they may have or into employment or training. We tailor our approach to each person and take into account any barriers an individual may face. Inspire Dorset is funded by the European Social Fund and National Lottery Community Fund.
Dorset Growth Hub
Dorset Growth Hub has advice and support for new and existing businesses. They can advise on business start up, business growth, finance, marketing, digital capabilities and employment and skills. They also offer free courses across Dorset which cover the essentials of running a business.
Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership
The Dorset LEP is a business led private and public sector partnership that aims to create more jobs and promote local economic growth, acting as a strategic gateway to funding.
Dorset Trading Standards
Call Dorset Trading Standards dedicated business advice line for free, impartial information.
Mentoring for small businesses
Dorset Business Mentoring (Dormen) recruits experienced business and professional people as volunteers to help small developing businesses, by providing a mentoring service to them. It can help you work through the best business decisions, formulate and test business plans and solve problems.
Grow your business overseas
The Department for International Trade (DIT) provides expert trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies who want to grow their business overseas. Businesses can receive enquiries from potential overseas customers from day one. DIT supports many thousands of companies each year, and has locally-based trade advisers, helping companies to take their first order and start building an international business.
Visit Business West to contact the South West specialists.
Dorset Chamber of Commerce can offer advice in:
- export readiness
- export finance
- getting goods to market
- international market access
- overseas marketing
Chambers of Commerce
Chambers of Commerce are local associations which promote and protect the interests of the business community. They can provide advice or put you in touch with expert assistance.
There are 5 Chambers of Commerce in Dorset:
Mentoring for digital organisations
Silicon South is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to accelerating the digital economy in Dorset, which is one of the fastest growing creative and digital hubs in Europe.
Apply online to get free one-to-one mentoring from successful digital entrepreneurs.
Food and farming industry support
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. You may wish to contact them for sector regulations, funding opportunities or general support and advice.
Support for engineering and manufacturing businesses
The Dorset Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) was created to provide a voice for the sector across Dorset, enabling companies to collaborate, become more sustainable, deliver to their full potential and be recognised for doing so.
Join the EMCto benefit from:
- assistance with raising the profile of the engineering and manufacturing sector to drive productivity and growth - in Dorset, across the UK and overseas
- developing supply chain opportunities in order to increase market share
- providing an opportunity to network and collaborate through a programme of events and workshops
- supporting solutions to underpin workforce development, skills, training and apprentice schemes
- identifying ways in which to collaborate with education providers and research organisations in order to drive innovation
- providing information on access to business support, market intelligence, finance and funding