Deciding to start a new business is daunting at the best of times, and in the face of adversity it can seem insurmountable. However, despite the turmoil of previous years – the uncertainty of Brexit in 2019, followed by the financial impact of coronavirus lockdowns of 2020 – it’s been a couple of bumper years for the formation of new businesses in Hampshire.
It might be hard to believe, but the statistics speak for themselves. In 2019, over 15,000 new companies were registered in the county, up 6.5% the previous year; and in 2020, yet another record was set, with 15,534 new companies registered, up 2.4% from 2019. Breaking these figures down for 2020, Southampton saw the highest numbers of new businesses formed, at 2,180; Portsmouth came in second, with 1,845; followed by East Hampshire, at 1,814. This highlights the strength and resilience of the economy in the county. Indeed, with an economic output of £50 billion, Hampshire business makes a hugely significant contribution to the economy, and is the largest sub-regional economy in the South East.
If you’re thinking of setting up a new business in Hampshire, then there are some excellent resources available to you. As well as business networking groups, you’ll also find a wealth of support and mentoring services in the region. Here’s our pick of the best:
Hampshire Chamber of Commerce
The Hampshire Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organisation that’s comprised of some 2,000 local businesses. It’s owned and led by members from the private sector, and is a fantastic resource for new start-ups and established companies alike. The member benefits are superb, and for start-ups includes HR, legal and tax advice. Members also benefit from offers and discounts on services, as well as access to training events. Also, and maybe most importantly, you’ll gain amazing business networking opportunities, which will help guide your company from strength to strength.
Enterprise Business South
Enterprise Business South is dedicated to growing and strengthening the economy in the region. It brings together like-minded professionals, including business leaders, educators and public bodies, to connect, mentor and lobby for positive change. The independent group provides amazing support for businesses at all stages, but is particularly helpful for new businesses. From the free start-up course ‘Create’, to help securing funding, business coaching and mentoring, there really is a wealth of knowledge for those looking to set up a new company. You can even access free resources via the website, such as the ‘Business Survival Guide’ and templates for documents including business plans, press releases and cash flow spreadsheets.
Government Start-Up Loan
Setting up a new business requires financial planning and investment. The Government start-up loan offers funds of £500 to £25,000 for those starting or growing a business. It’s an unsecured personal loan, and you’ll need to meet the following criteria to be eligible. You need to:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Live in the UK
- Have a UK-based business that’s been trading for less than 24 months, or plan to start a UK-based business
In addition to the funding, successful applicants will receive help writing their business plan and 12 months of mentoring.
Enterprise M3 LEP Growth Hub
This business-led partnership gets its name from the M3 corridor, and just like the M3, it spans business interests across Hampshire, south London and south-west Surrey. Enterprise M3 LEP is a business-led partnership that brings together business leaders, not for profits and public organisations to drive business growth in the region. It also has an excellent resource for new businesses, the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub. This programme offers free, tailored advice for businesses and start-ups, to help them quickly achieve their potential.
Federation of Small Businesses
The Federation of Small Businesses is a not for profit that serves small business owners across the UK. The organisation provides support for small business owners, and member benefits include free legal advice and financial mentoring. It’s also a powerful voice in Government, working with politicians and policy makers to raise awareness of issues and campaign for change.
Solent LEP Growth Hub
This is a free service offered for businesses based in the Solent area of Hampshire. The Solent LEP Growth Hub website is a great resource for those seeking impartial business support. It provides instant access to services such as business innovation, funding, sales and marketing, mentoring and coaching. Most importantly, it also has a specific section for start-ups.
WSX Enterprise is a not for profit that runs business support programmes across southern England. It’s network spans from Kent to Cornwall, but the organisation has a particularly strong presence in Hampshire and Dorset. The remit for this organisation is to stimulate economic growth in local regions by fostering enterprise development and business growth. Programmes are designed to help new businesses every step of the way, and provide everything from start-up guidance and access to financial support, to general business advice, how to start in ecommerce and even digital skills enhancement.
Setting up a new business, or expanding an existing venture, is always daunting. But here at Planet Wide City based in Hampshire, we’re here to simplify the digital part of the process. Contact our full service digital agency for more information on how we can help you showcase your company and product offering online. We can manage your entire online presence, so if you’re looking to improve your digital footprint then get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01252 852145.