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Business start up support

Young business man working on laptop

Starting a business? Find expert advice for kick starting it successfully from start up loans to support with finding office space, recruitment and training.

This section offers start up support services for your new or early stage Lancashire business to help you become established in the market place. You'll also find information on financial support options, plus business networking and events that will help you make strong local contacts and provide opportunities to promote your business.

Local start up support services

Boost - Lancashire's Growth Hub

Boost can help Lancashire start-up businesses access a number of funded programmes in key areas such as mentoring, scaling up, innovation, international trade, leadership development and accessing finance.

Hyndburn Enterprise Trust

Hyndburn Enterprise Trust offers free one-to-one impartial business advice to anyone thinking of starting a business in Lancashire, plus a range of workshops on a variety of business topics.

Ask About Business

Ask About Business is an information service available through libraries in Lancashire, which help start ups prepare, research and learn through their information resources, events, workshops, library space, and partnerships with other business support organisations.

You can also access business advice and information through COBRA - a complete business reference advisor containing all the information you need to turn your ideas into a business.

SELNET - for social enterprises

SELNET offers specialist business advice for social enterprises including starting a business. Email: hello@selnet-uk.com 

DRIVE Programme

SELNET - DR!VE programme for new-start and existing businesses is heading a partnership of qualified business advisors that can turn good business plans into business for good. Please note the programme is currently closed to new referrals and updates to the project will be available later in the year.

The Business Clinic 

The Business Clinic is a community interest company (not for profit) run by local businesses for local businesses offering support, events and business surgeries.

Start Your Own Business

Start Your Own Business is a useful tool that provides free start up resources and useful local contacts to help kickstart your business in Lancashire. 


If you are interested in setting up a co-operative, or want more information, events and networks, please take a look at the Preston Cooperative Development Network or email admin@prestoncoopdevelopment.org. There is also a dedicated co-operatives section on the Preston City Council website.

Setting up a Co-operative - free webinars

Interested in starting a business as a co-operative? The following links provide some useful information on setting up successfully:

Useful council services

The following links on Preston City Council's website provides useful information for new local businesses:

National start up business support services

GOV.UK business support

GOV.UK - set up a business provides you with a step-by-step process of what you need to do to set up a business. The things you need to do will depend on your type of business, where you work and whether you take people on to help.

Enterprise Nation: StartUp UK

StartUp UK is a pioneering scheme by Enterprise Nation, to provide free tailored support to startup entrepreneurs. Backed by the UK government and Monzo Business, the programme delivers free e-learning, downloadable business guides, virtual workshops and in person flagship events.

Prince's Trust Enterprise Programme

The Prince's Enterprise Programme offers a range of support services from training and mentoring support to funding and resources for unemployed individuals aged between 18 and 30 who are working fewer than 16 hours per week and looking to start up in business.

Building Better Opportunities - for over 50s

Selnet - age of opportunity offers advice and support for setting up a business for those over the age of 50 through the Building Better Opportunities: Age of Opportunity programme.

Start Up Donut

Start Up Donut is an online guide to starting a business with free advice, resources and tools for small business start-ups such as information on getting finance, business planning, hiring, IT, marketing and much more.

HM Revenue and Customs

GOV.UK - self employment detailed information has tax help and advice for those starting up and small businesses.

Start up financial support (loans and grants)

For start up financial support see our business financial support section.

Find business premises or office space

Whether you're looking to rent a business premises, office space or simply a desk space, Preston offers a wide range of options when it comes to finding workspace to start your business.

For details see .

Recruitment, apprenticeships and training and skills support

For advice and support around recruiting the right people for your start up business, as well as apprenticeships and training support to assist in upskilling staff see business recruitment and training support.

Local business networks

The city offers a variety of business networking groups in and around Preston, which are great places to promote your business and make useful contacts. For a list of current networking meets in around the city see business networks.

Preston Partnership

Preston Partnership is an independent partnership of businesses and organisations that are passionate about and committed to the city. The Partnership is made up of organisations of all shapes and sizes with a common goal to champion the city of Preston and its surrounding area.

For more details and how to become a member see Preston Partnership.

Local business events

To find out what business events, expos, conferences and exhibitions are happening in and around Preston see business events.

For events further afield in and around Lancashire please visit Boost Lancashire - Events

The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce also host a variety of free events and training alongside their paid for events. For details visit Lancs Chamber - events.

Follow our business blog

Keep up to date with all the latest investment and business news, such as new support initiatives and grants, by regularly checking our business blog.