Business and investment Starting a business

Information about starting up a business 

  • Ask about business and Business and Intellectual Property Centre are services that help with developing business ideas, business planning, market research, trade and business directories, intellectual property advice, free credit checks and technology demonstrator events. Email to receive the monthly News and Events updates.
  • GOV.UK - provides online guides and tutorials, contracts finder, finance and business support finder, practical steps to setting up a business - registering, licensing, banking, VAT, National Insurance (NI) and employing people. Call 0845 600 9006. 
  • HMRC online guides and tutorials including how to determine if you are employed or self-employed for tax purposes.
  • Business is Great - a national campaign aimed at inspiring people to start and grow their business.
  • Purposely - a free tool to help founders build 'purpose beyond profit' into the articles.
  • Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Network provides a directory of social enterprises, news and case studies.
  • Google Garage provides free online training on starting a business and various business topics.

Advice and support

Free advice and support services that we fund or provide:   

  • Central Library's Business and IP Centre hosts drop in sessions, workshops, demonstrators, patent and IP clinics and is home to the Manchester Inventors Group.
  • Business Growth Hub supports people that have the ambition to start a growth business that is likely to turnover £250,000 in the first two years or employ five people in the first three years of trading. Call 0161 359 3050.
  • PeoplePlus delivers a number of start up schemes including the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme for people on work-related benefits and a flexible learning programme for parents or other people with home commitments. Call 0161 5076366 or email  
  • Market trading can be a career in its own right but many market traders used it as a first step to running successful businesses online or in their own premises.
  • MiVentures is an online service that complements the above face to face services. It offers live chat with qualified business advisors at a time that suits you, thousands of guides on key business topics, direct support with registering with HMRC and Companies House, HMRC and ACAS webinars and promotes key local events. You can also join online discussion groups or or create your own network.

Other start up services

  • The Prince's Trust helps people aged 18 to 30 (unemployed or working less than 16 hours) with workshops, test trading, financial support and a mentor. Call 0800 842 842.
  • Business Finance Solutions is the local provider of StartUp Loans UK, a loan and mentor scheme for anyone with well developed business plans. Call 0161 237 4021.
  • Digital Business Academy from Tech City offers free online digital skills training for entrepreneurs that want to start, grow or join a digital business.
  • Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Network brings together a range of support and sources of finance.
  • UnLtd offer free advice and grants for social entrepreneurs and enterprises. Call 0845 850 1122.
  • Franchising Works gives free advice and support to help people consider franchising and to introduce them to vetted franchise opportunities. Call 0161 4081313.
  • TECH Manchester offers free workshops and events, training, mentoring, online resources, public relations and marketing, and the opportunity to access workspace and media facilities.
  • UKFast hosts weekly webinars across a number of key business and technology issues, including: support for startups, cybersecurity and GDPR, among many others.

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