Support for local SMEs and Start-ups

Employing over 60% of the UK workforce, SMEs might not be household names or attract as much attention as large businesses, but they are the lifeblood of the UK economy.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) estimated that 1 in 18 people in the UK are SME business owners. In 2017 SMEs had a combined turnover of £1.9 trillion, a £1 billion increase from 2016. A recent publication by Real Business states that the trend in tech start-ups will continue to drive the growth of the SME sector.

Leading digital marketing experts, Digimax found that the UK’s start-up trend is set to continue as it reveals 76% of business owners said that they are currently working on new ideas, and 43% aim to launch a new business venture this year.

According to Economia, nearly two-thirds (65%) of SMEs are confident that they will see growth of up to 40% in the next two years. Though, it’s reported that 43% of SMEs do not survive past three years of operating due to rapid changes in technology and an unpredictable economy.

In the past year, the UK saw 660,000 newly established companies which is up from 608,000 in 2016.

However, although there is a continuous rise in start-ups, entrepreneurs have criticised the lack of government support and commitment to helping SMEs.

As an SME we understand how difficult it is to find the right information and the most valuable advice. We’ve put together a list of useful local resources for SMEs to get the best advice for business growth, funding and support.


South Yorkshire

SMEs in South Yorkshire have become the backbone of the economic growth for the local area. Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham have rolled out several local business support resources so small businesses have the resources and support that can help them grow to their full potential.

Enterprising Barnsley- Over the years Enterprising Barnsley has helped to shape 340 new businesses, supported 1,600 companies, and created over 4,000 jobs. Enterprising Barnsley offers free services to individuals who want to start a new business, SMEs looking to relocate to Barnsley and those looking to grow their business. They are in partnership with the Sheffield City Region and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Sheffield City Region Growth Hub- The Growth Hub acts as a gateway so that your business can access specialists in any field of business development. The hub can offer support for innovation, exporting, finance and training.

RiDo- Rotherham Investment and Development Office, also known as RiDo has over 30 years’ experience of providing businesses with incubation services. RiDo has four modern business centres that are run by experienced and knowledgeable staff.

West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire is home to one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. Leeds has over 32,000 registered businesses and more than 6,000 SMEs which account for more than half of the city’s employment. The Centre for Economics and Business Research revealed that SMEs in Leeds are expected to contribute more than £7bn to the UK economy by 2025.

The West Yorkshire region also has some incredible SME support readily available.

Ad:venture- Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Ad:venture provide expert help and advice to high growth businesses, helping them reach their full potential. The organisation can support businesses in Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York or those that are relocating.

Ad:venture also offers a range of events and workshops to help you get the best advice for your business.

Sarah Carling, Ad:venture programme manager explained to the Business Desk: “The Ad:venture programme is a great example of how we are investing in young companies to help them with the practical and financial support they need to meet with their potential. There are so many exciting companies that have come to market in the last eighteen months alone and we know there are even more that would benefit from the support the programme offers.

“This isn’t just about Leeds, it’s about the wider City Region and we would encourage anyone that needs to access professional advice and guidance to come forward. There really is nothing to lose and a great deal to gain!”

LEP- Based in Leeds city centre, the LEP aim is to grow economic potential by providing investment and support to help businesses and the economy to thrive. The LEP works with organisations across the public and private sectors.  

The LEP also offers a tremendous amount of support for SMEs in North Yorkshire including Harrogate and York.

The Enterprise Team-  the University of Huddersfield developed The Enterprise Team to help students and graduates start their own business. They hold workshops, drop-ins and online advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Across the UK

Prince’s Trust- A charitable organisation set up by Prince Charles to continually seek new ways to provide better support for young people. Young business owners across the UK have worked with Prince’s Trust to start their own business. The Trust offers a programme that tackles each area of starting a business.

Mentors Me- The UK’s first online platform for business looking for mentors. Mentors Me is a free site and is recommended by GOV UK. It offers quality assured business gurus across the UK.


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