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Economic Development Team
Dept. of Development
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
- City College Plymouth
- Department for Communities and Local Government
- Devon Area Action Force
- Open to Export
- Outset Finance
- Outset Plymouth
- Plymouth University
- UK Trade & Investment
- University College Plymouth St Mark & St John
- We are not responsible for the content of linked websites. Visit our disclaimer page for more information.
Business 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.
Useful quick links include:
- Businesses and self-employed. Information about starting up and running a business in the UK, including help if you're self employed or a sole trader.
- Setting up. Information and training to guide people through the process of starting a business.
- Contracts finder. Ssearch for information about contracts worth over £10,000 with the government and its agencies.
- National mentoring network. Puts your business in touch with mentoring organisations across the UK
- National Business Link telephone helpline - 0845 600 9006 - which replaces the existing regional telephone helpline and will support people in navigating the Business Link website
These changes will ensure that businesses are provided with information and links to the national, regional and local business support. You can find more information about these changes on the BIS website and can sign up for regular e-alerts and updates.
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 support and advice
Outset Plymouth provides support and guidance for those looking to start a new business in Plymouth. It provides a flexible, tailor-made support programme designed to suit individual needs and, after attending an information session, guidance is provided on the best starting place within a two-stage programme. It also supports existing businesses who have been trading for less than three years through post-start workshops and events.
Stage 1 - Introduction to enterprise
Workshops to encourage and facilitate personal skills and develop and test business ideas, including:
- Business ideas and creative thinking
- Market research
- Marketing and image
- Market research feedback
- Financial understanding
Stage 2 - Start-up programme
The next stage is to provide key skills and knowledge to start and grow a sustainable business. This includes comprehensive, more challenging and in-depth workshops, including:
- Business planning and legal structures
- Costing and pricing
- Cash flow forecasting
- Promotion and skills audit
- Business presentation
Post-start and additional support
Additional workshops are held to help new businesses through the first crucial year and on the way to sustainable growth, as well as additional events including networking.
Eligibility criteria for the programme
The person must live in the city of Plymouth (clients must pay Council Tax to Plymouth City Council and will need to show proof of address when registering for the programme).
A financial support resource has been added to the Outset start-up programme for both established businesses and those setting up brand new businesses who need advice and guidance on how to finance their enterprises, who can provide the funding and how to put a thorough and comprehensive proposition together.
- Understand the different types of business funding that is available
- Understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type of funding
- Identify what is required to access finance
- See their business from a potential investor’s perspective
- Understand what is involved in preparing the business for investment
Fit for finance
- Why a business plan is needed
- What should and shouldn’t be included in a business plan
- How to identify how much and what type of funding is required
- Guidance on developing a robust business plan designed to attract potential funders or investors
- Understanding the importance of management information
- How to source the most appropriate funding
- Guidance on completing a cashflow forecast
- Understanding profit and loss projections
- Creating essential spreadsheets to help manage business finances
- Knowledge about cost of sales and capital purchases
- How to access professional services
Pricing for profit
- The difference between margin and mark-up
- Different costing models and the considerations for each
- When and how to decrease or increase prices
- Differential pricing for different customers
- Hot to compete on value not price
Eligibility criteria for the programme
Clients must live or have their business within the Plymouth City Council unitary boundary.
To find out more, visit the Outset Finance website or telephone 0800 028 5699.
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.
Grant for Business Investment offers grant support for sustainable business investment and job creation projects in disadvantaged areas in England, and is part of a suite of highly targeted, publicly funded products and services known as Solutions for Business.
The ERDF Secretariat manages the ERDF Grant for Business Investment scheme aimed at businesses of all sizes looking to invest in assisted areas that need a grant to take their vision forward. Plymouth is designated a Tier 2 Assisted Area, and businesses in the area that fulfil the relevant criteria are therefore eligible for funding.
The scheme focuses support on high-quality, innovative, knowledge-based projects that lead to long-term improvements in productivity, skills and employment. The majority of jobs created are expected to be at NVQ Level 2 and above.
Projects such as launching a new business, expanding existing companies, introducing new technology into manufacturing, or taking a new product from its early stages all the way through to production will be eligible for support.
GBI funds in Plymouth are now fully-committed and there is therefore no more funding available at this time.
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.
Plymouth City Council support
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.
Doing business with the Council
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.
Environment and Planning
Knowledge of intellectual property (IP) can help you to protect your ideas and develop them for financial gain. Plymouth PATLIB is a free information service provided by Plymouth Libraries to support all your intellectual property needs, including:
- Resources and information on patents, copyright, trade marks and designs
- Help with searching UK, European and world patents
- Free confidential guidance through Plymouth's 'One Stop Ideas Shop' partnership, including expert advice from business advisors and a patent attorney.
Plymouth PATLIB is a designated PATLIB UK centre and the only one in the South West.
We have a number of licensing regulatory and registration powers and duties. The licensing section deals with the licensing and registrations of a wide range of people and premises. Information about licences and permits can be found on the licences and permits page.
Information about street trading licences and street trading sites in the city is available from the City Centre team.
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.
Plymouth Trading Standards Service aims to protect and promote the safety and economic and environmental interests of Plymouth consumers and businesses. It aims to ensure that Plymouth’s prosperity is not jeopardised by unfair or illegal trading. It also offers information and guidance for businesses.
Information about major transport schemes in the city, highway permits, potholes, street licence applications, public transport, policy and planning can be found on the transport and streets pages.
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.
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.
It also offers an employer seminar programme aimed at supporting SMEs and micro-SMEs, whether they are new businesses or firmly established and wanting advice and the opportunity to share best practice.
All speakers are specialists and have a wide range of knowledge and experience relating to the chosen topic. Seminars cost £15 per person (or £10 per person if three or more bookings are made). A light buffet is also included at the seminar.
To book a place, contact the Employer Gateway on 01752 305026. Card payment is required at the time of booking.
The employer seminar programme can be downloaded below.
Employer seminar programme [317KB]
University College Plymouth St Mark and St John
The University College Plymouth 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
- 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
- Entrepreneurship and business start-up
- Expertise and research
- Facilities (laboratories, meeting rooms or accommodation)
- Knowledge transfer
- Student/graduate recruitment
- Skills and training