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Business support services

Business Support Services

Whether you are starting a business or you have been running a business for 10 years, chances are you will need some help on specific issues or general issues.

Inspiring Enterprise Workshop

Are you unemployed?

Do you want to be your own boss?

The Inspiring Enterprise project offers FREE support to help you develop the ideas, confidence and skills needed to become self-employed or create and social enterprise

Attend the FREE 'Is it for me?' Workshop
Greyfriars Community Centre, Ringwood
6th April 2017 - 10am-1pm

For further detail or to book your place call 0800 140 4537 or email
You can also book your place online at


Growth Hubs

A wide variety of business support services are now available from the Growth Hubs. These are operated by the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) of which the New Forest within two (Solent covering the Waterside area and Enterprise M3 covering all other parts of the District).

The Growth hubs are in place to deliver information, grants, loans, advice and support regardless of the sector you're in or the type of business you're running.

To access this information and support, you'll need to ensure that you make contact with the correct Growth Hub for where your business is located. Click below on the growth hub which applies.

EM3 Growth Hub
Enterprise M3 Growth Hub (for New Forest business outside the Waterside)


Solent Growth Hub
Solent Growth Hub (for New Forest businesses on the Waterside)

Service Contact Details:
Matt Callaghan (Business Development Officer)
Phone: 023 8028 5371

Click on the link below to answer your questions:

We are here to help local business with all its support and development needs. We have a wide range of services at our disposal provided by a large number of organisations, including Enterprise First our Economic Development Unit, Chamber of Commerce and many more.

We receive government funding and private sponsorship to provide certain services free of charge, such as guidance on starting a business, and we access subsidies wherever we can, making it possible for small and medium sized enterprises to benefit from advice and assistance that will improve their growth prospects.

We aim to give assistance on most aspects of business. In addition to on-line information resources, there are specialist advisers who will deal with your needs on an individual basis. This could be something specific, such as an aspect of employment law, or something more general, such as how to increase profits over the next 3 years.

Other agencies that can provide advice to businesses, on a whole range of subjects can be found on the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Where can I find business opportunities within the area?
To look for businesses for sale in the area you can look in the local press, or visit some of the many websites that deal with the sale of businesses.

There are a large number of businesses in the UK that are franchised but what is franchising and would it be suitable for you?

It's a way of setting up in business for yourself but not on your own. With a franchise you run the business, but using methods that have been already tried and tested by another company, called the franchiser.

It is a way of being your own boss without many of the risk factors. However, you are ultimately answerable to the franchisor and this approach may not be for some people.

Can I get any financial support, grants or loans?
Business Grants are available for businesses in the New Forest from a wide range of sources including The European Union, national and local government and charities. Funds are also available in the form of loans and venture capital.

These fund can be used to grow your business, train and recruit employees, move premises or export your goods. Similarly if you're just starting out in your own company, there may be assistance to help you through the difficult early stages.

New Forest District has access to a free business grant search facility which provides details of all grant and funding from a European level down to the local. For details of this and other local funding scheme, see our Business Grants section.

Are there any courses that I may find useful?
A range of training providers and a training needs assessment is available to companies in the New Forest. For further details regarding all skill development, visit the employment and training initiatives section of our website.

What taxes will I have to pay?
HM Revenues and Customs have put information on their website especially for employers. Visit the HM Revenue and Customs website for further details.

If you're starting up your own business, particularly for the first time HMRC have a range of support material which includes online tutorials and e-learning modules allowing you to work at your own pace. See details at HMRC Start-up pages

Where can I get property advice?
The New Forest has all commercial property commercial registered with commercial agents listed on the Invest in Southampton website. Despite the name, searches can be carried out by property type, size, location and industrial class for anywhere within the New Forest.

Do I need planning permission?
Planning holds a balance between the need for new development and the need to protect the environment and tries to ensure all development is environmentally sustainable. Construction methods also need to comply with the Building Regulations for which there is a separate set of approvals. More information can be found on the Building Control section of the New Forest District Council website.

Working from home
You do not usually need planning permission just to work from home but sometimes you do.

The key test is whether the residence has changed because of the business. If the answer to any of the following questions is "yes", then you will probably need permission:

  • is your house no longer chiefly a private residence?
  • will your business result in a marked rise in traffic, people calling or working around the house or in out buildings?
  • will your business involve obvious activities not usual in a residential street?
  • Will your business disturb your neighbours because of noise or smells?

Basically you need to ask yourself if the house is still mainly a home or has it become business premises? This is whatever the business, including using a room as an office, hairdressing, repairing cars, storing goods, using part of the house as a bedsit, running a "bed and breakfast", providing childminding or music teaching.

Further and more specific guidance is available for your business on the local planning authority web pages. For businesses located outside the National Park, visit New Forest District Council Planning Pages. Business located within the New Forest National Park will need to view National Park Planning Pages.

Do I need a licence?
Many businesses require a licence e.g.. hairdressers, pet shops and places of public entertainment. To access more general information on licences including restaurants, theatres, taxis, cinemas etc, follow the this link to New Forest District Council's licensing information pages.

What standards do I need to abide by?
Trading Standards and Consumer Services is a strategic Local Authority service contributing to the well-being of the local and business community through its enforcement activities and advisory services.

Hampshire County Council's Trading Standards division will give advice to any business, consumer group, school or any other organisation on the work carried out by the Trading Standards service in the following areas:

  • Weights and Measures
  • Food Labelling
  • Product and Toy Safety
  • Home Safety
  • Your Rights when Shopping
  • Credit, Borrowing and Lending
  • General Work of the Trading Standards

For further information call Hampshire County Council's Trading Standards Team on 0845 6030 081. Details of this service are also available on the County Council's website. Trading Standards Advice to Business

Will I need to pay business rates?
For information on business rates use the following links:

For general enquiries relating to your Business Rates call the enquiries line on 023 8028 5819

Where can I get rid of trade waste?
This service is available to all commercial and industrial premises in the area. Further details are available on the waste pages of the District Council's website.

The Council also carries out commercial pest control work for local businesses. Further details are available on the pest control pages of the District Council's website.

How do I recruit staff?
Your local job centre will advise you on recruiting staff and will advertise positions in the local centres free of charge. For more information, visit the Universal Job Match Service.

You can also contact the local employment agencies to help recruit permanent or temporary staff although there will be a charge for this.

You can also advertise in the local press.

Other useful links

British Chamber of Commerce

Updated: 23 Feb 2017
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