Business support and advice

Coronavirus (Covid-19): Support and advice for businesses

Business Support and Enterprise agencies

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.

 Business support guide for existing businesses [635KB]

 Business support guide for start up businesses [475KB]

Sources of support


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

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.

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.


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.

USDAW End Violence Against Shopworkers

The Freedom From Fear campaign by USDAW (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) aims to ensure that all workers are not faced with violence and abuse at work.

Their 2017 survey showed that, sadly, over two thirds of shopworkers had been verbally abused.

The Council supports the Respect for Shopworkers Week, and encourages stakeholders to support the Freedom From Fear campaign now.

You can find more information from USDAW’s website, Facebook and Twitter


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.

Plymouth Marjon University

The Plymouth Marjon University 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

Visit the Plymouth Marjon University website for further information or contact the Director of Academic and External Affairs on 01752 636700 extn 2097 or email at

University of Plymouth

Enterprise Solutions is a service provided by University of Plymouth 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 email