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Business support and advice

Funding available for residential and business premises

Repair and Renew Grant Scheme

Home owners and businesses directly affected by the floods can now apply for a grant of up to £5,000 to help reduce the risk of flooding to their properties in the future.

The Government-funded Repair and Renew Grant scheme can provide grants for additional flood resilience or resistance measures for homes and businesses that have been hit by the recent floods, over and above repairs that would normally be covered by insurance.

Any home or business damaged by the floods between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2014 could be eligible for a grant. There are a number of criteria to satisfy – for example the interior of the property must have been damaged, applicants must not have received or applied for other sources of public or insurance funding to carry out the same work.

Households and businesses may be reluctant to submit claims for the Repair and Renew grant, fearing that an application/claim will result in increases in future insurance premiums/excesses. However, please find below a letter from the Director General of the Association of British Insurers allaying such concerns and encouraging the take up of this grant to improve resilience against future flooding.

Visit our funding available page for more information.

Other support and advice

There are a variety of business support and enterprise agencies based in Plymouth, as well as Council departments, who can offer a range of services and advice to new start-ups, as well as existing and inward-moving companies.

Our business support guides pull together the various support and guidance streams available to businesses and can be downloaded below.

Business support guide for existing businesses [649KB]

Business support guide for start-ups [546KB]

Further information with links to relevant organisations may be found on our 'Starting a new business' pages, whilst other sources of support are outlined below.


Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes designed around the needs of employers, which lead to national recognised qualifications. You can use Apprenticeships to train both new and existing employees. Funding is available to train apprentices.

Apprenticeships are designed by the Sector Skills Councils, while the National Apprenticeship Service helps to fund the training. Business representatives from the relevant industry sector work with the Sector Skills Councils to develop the course content ensuring training is relevant to its industry.

Business rates

We administer national non domestic rates but work to regulations controlled by Central Government. Visit the Department for Communities and Local Government website for a full guide to business rates.


Open to Export

First announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in November 2011, Open to Export is a community driven online service for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) looking for support, guidance and in-depth information they need to export from the UK. The service is delivered by hibu (formerly Yell Group) in partnership with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

Businesses can register for free, connect and engage with the exporting community and ask and answer specific export-related questions. Answers are provided from UK Trade & Investment officers based in UK Embassies and High Commissions throughout the world, recognised third party experts and experienced small businesses able to help other small businesses on their export journey.

For further information or to register, visit the Open to Export website.

Plymouth International Trade Club

Plymouth International Trade Club was set up as a network for both inexperienced and experienced exporters to get together and share knowledge and expertise.

The objectives for the club are to:

  • Stimulate interest/activity in international trade
  • Provide a local forum for discussion and the sharing of challenges and opportunities
  • Encourage the spread of best export practice
  • Signpost sources of export support, advice and training
  • Identify specific market opportunities, trade missions and events

There are many benefits to being a part of the Plymouth International Trade Club, as well as being the first to know about exciting opportunities.

  • Share best practice in international trade with fellow members
  • Access to a full range of international trade support services - advice, training, market research, trade missions
  • Guidance and encouragement to develop your international trade activities
  • New and informative international trade ideas/contacts
  • Free promotion of your company on the International Trade Club website
  • Regular e-bulletins detailing international trade issues

Visit the Plymouth International Trade Club website for further information or contact them on 01752 273881 or by email at

Greening your business

Going green can be an exciting and cost effective challenge for businesses, large or small. The benefits of managing environmental resources such as water, waste and energy can result in equally beneficial impacts on your bottom line, transport, supply chains, legal obligations and even your reputation, marketing and branding.

In addition to improving your own business, you would also be contributing to Plymouth’s low carbon economy by helping to reduce your carbon footprint and helping the UK meet its targets for tackling climate change. Supported by the Government, the emphasis on greening the economy is going to grow over the next twenty years which could bring new investment, jobs and opportunities to the city, and ultimately benefit your business.

Further information is available on the greening your business page.


You will need to obtain planning permission for most building works or changes of use of land or buildings. However not all building works or changes of use require the submission of a planning application to the Council.

The Council’s planning team is able to provide advice and information on development proposals, offering an opportunity for discussions to take place before a planning application is submitted. This is called pre-application advice and forms part of the Development Enquiry Service.


Sell2Plymouth is a partnership between Plymouth’s public sector buyers, local business support agencies and both the Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses. It promotes business relationships between micro and small businesses and the public sector, with public sector partners having committed to providing opportunities to access contracts for goods and services up to £20,000 in a one-stop information point which also contains details of how to bid.

A guide on how to do business with Plymouth City Council has been produced to assist suppliers and contractors who wish to supply Plymouth City Council with goods, materials, services or works. Advice within this guide should also be helpful when bidding for any public service contract.


City College Plymouth

City College Plymouth is a leading provider of training and business services with a dedicated employer response team that advises on training, qualifications and funding for businesses. It offers a wide range of general business and management training as well as bespoke training designed to meet exact needs. It can also help businesses recruit, train and qualify apprentices.

Visit the City College Plymouth website for further information or contact the Corporate Relations team on 01752 305026 or by email at

University of St Mark and St John

The University of St Mark and St John works closely with businesses and offers a range of services to employers including:

  • HE-level flexible training for those already in employment
  • The Continuing professional development
  • Short and industry-related courses from levels 1 to 7
  • Employer advisory groups for course content
  • Student placement projects
  • Applied research and knowledge transfer partnerships

It is also a partner in the regional Innovation Vouchers project which runs until 2015. An Innovation Voucher provides funding for businesses (including charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations) to access the expertise within a University, College, Public Sector Research Establishment (ie the Knowledge Base) for the first time, gaining new knowledge to help businesses to innovate, develop and grow.

Visit the University of St Mark and St John website for further information or contact the Director of Academic and External Affairs on 01752 636700 extn 2097 or by email at

Plymouth University

Enterprise Solutions is a service provided by Plymouth University that enables businesses to access a wide range of expertise, services and facilities, including:

  • Entrepreneurship and business start-up
  • Expertise and research
  • Facilities (laboratories, meeting rooms or accommodation)
  • Funding
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Student/graduate recruitment
  • Skills and training

Visit the Enterprise Solutions website for further information or contact the Enterprise Solutions team on 0800 052 5600 or by email at

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