Please note, although Dudley Business First offers guidance and support, it does not offer independent advice on setting up a business.
business starts here
Have you always wanted to be your own boss but aren’t sure where to start? Business starts here can direct you towards the free support, information and facilities that can help turn your idea into a fully fledged business
One-to-one advice from experts
Book an appointment with an expert from a local business support organisation, and find out more about free local workshops on offer.
COBRA - The complete online business reference advisor - The latest information and advice on starting your own business
Collections of business books and directories
Leaflets and Information on local business support organisations
Business Start up packs
Fax, printing and photocopying facilities (small charge for these services)
4 hours computer access per day, with staff on hand to help
Access to learning courses
To make an appointment with a business expert:
Ages 18-30 ring Prince’s Trust 07717 153 838
Ages 30 plus ring Access to Business 01902 572398
Business Starts Here is based at Dudley Library - First Floor, St James’s Road, Dudley, DY1 1HR
To access the business starts here web page click here
Access the Government's business finance and support finder here
Advice and guidance on starting your own business can be found here
You can also access webinars and videos via the gov.uk website on lots of aspects of running your own business, which can be accessed here
New Enterprise Allowance
Provides support to help you start your own business if you're getting certain benefits. Contact Jobcentre Plus to apply or find out more here.
HM Revenue & Customs Digital Help and support for businesses
Free HMRC E-Learning for Start-ups
E-learning: HMRC provide a number of flexible interactive online guides, which customers can work through at their own pace. Take a look at HMRC’s Tax Guide for the self-employed; one of a range of eLearning products.
Webinars (online presentations): HMRC offer a selection of live and recorded webinars. Customers can register for scheduled live webinars which last about an hour and offer the opportunity to ask questions. Shorter recorded webinars are also available anytime but there is no facility to ask questions and no registration is required. To view the webinar home page click here.
Email alerts: This free tailored service ensures you are fully informed with useful and timely reminders of changes.
Apps: HMRC has provided details of simple record keeping apps for mobile devices to make life a little easier.
Key Messages: Receive bi-monthly updates on widespread information from across HMRC.
HMRC also have a Twitter account @HMRCBusiness. Tweets are issued daily to promote webinars, YouTube videos, tax deadlines, events and news as well as responding to tweets about general tax questions around setting up or growing a business.
Alternative Sources of Support
The following organisations and initiatives provide advice, guidance and finance for business start ups.
Business advice is available to individuals or groups who are wanting to commercialise an idea or have been trading for less than six months. For further information click here
If you’re 18 to 30, living in the UK and unemployed, or working fewer than 16 hours a week, and have a business idea or some ideas to explore, the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme could be for you.
Our face-to-face programme kicks off with a free information session in your local area, and we'll tell you how we can support you and, if you're still keen, we'll also invite you onto our four-day interactive workshop.
You'll get to meet other like-minded people and have the chance to tap into an business expert, covering everything from business planning and marketing to sales, budgeting and tax.
After this, it's time to start building your business. We'll support you to plan and test your ideas and give you the opportunity to apply for funding. That way, you'll be ready to meet our Business Launch Group at the end of the process.
Once you've launched your business, we'll provide you with an experienced business mentor who will be on hand to share advice every step of the way - for up to two years.
Not only does our Enterprise programme equip you with the training, tools and mentoring support you need to start your own business, we also offer you the chance to apply for a low-interest loan.
A delivery partner of the Start Up Loans Company*, we offer low-interest finance at a rate of 6.2% APR representative to help you get started, including:
Low interest start-up loans of up to £5,000
Small start-up business grants in special circumstances. Please talk to your local Prince’s Trust advisor to see if this applies to you.
The process is simple and our trained members of staff are on hand to help you.
With low repayment rates for the first few months to help you find your feet, we set up a payment schedule that works for you – typically between one to five years through direct debit. And, if your situation changes or you have any concerns, just let us know. Our team are available to give advice and support.
*Loans must be used for business purposes only.
A UK information website providing expert advice and guides on every aspect of starting and growing a business including sales, finance, marketing and legal information.
For more information on the Entrepreneur Handbook click here
NACUEsupport the growth of enterprise societies and its network provides the essential informal peer-to-peer support and inspiration needed by young entrepreneurs to succeed. More on NACUE can be found here.
Starting a Childcare Business
Dudley Council has produced a toolkit to help and support you as you set up and develop your business. This covers: a business health check, writing a business plan, marketing, finance, funding and grants, staffing, employment and training, management, raising the bar (work life balance and the me2 award) and legal responsibilities.
To receive your copy of the toolkit, entitled “piecing it together”, please contact the Childcare Strategy Team on 01384 818126 or click here for further information
Finance for Start Ups
Your bank will be able to advice on business bank accounts and finance available for new businesses. They will also have parts of their website dedicated to online resources such as business plan templates and access to support through regional events or more.
Start up loans
A government backed scheme with over £100 million available to help kick-start and support entrepreneurs. More on Start Up Loans can be found here.
Smarta is the ultimate advice and networking resource for anyone starting and running a small business
For more information on Smarta click here
There are many different web-based platforms which enable individuals to invest in a proposal, which could include start-up businesses. A relevant one for new businesses is the Virgin Crowdfunder. For further information click here