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Starting a business

Starting and running a successful business can be one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. It can also be one of the most daunting. However, statistics show businesses that take advice during the start up phase are more likely to be successful.

Creating a business

When you start a business you must choose a structure. Most businesses in the UK are:

  • sole traders
  • limited companies or
  • partnerships

If you are a sole trader you need to register as ‘self-employed’ - this means that you are working for yourself, not for someone else. For more information on the different structures and how to set them up see:

The Growth Hub

The Growth Hub is a fully funded business support programme to help growing Gloucestershire businesses. From one-to-one advice and support, to a range of expert-led events and online self-service resources, the Growth Hub provides help for growing companies of all shapes and sizes.

Hub experts are extensively networked both locally and nationally; able to make introductions to key decision makers in other organisations to help yours grow.

Whether it's finding funding, developing your team or breaking into new markets; the Hub team is on hand to consult, connect and collaborate. To find out which Tier of support is most suitable for your business:

Coming soon - Growth Hub, Forest of Dean at Vantage Point Business Village in Mitcheldean

Innovation Lab

Whatever the size, scale or scope of your business, the Forest of Dean offers the support you need when and where you need it. Gloucestershire County Council is proud to support the GFirst Tier 1 and 2 Growth Hubs by providing 31 additional Tier 3 Growth Hub contact points throughout Gloucestershire, in Libraries located in the heart of communities.

Trained, professional staff are on hand at each Library to offer support and to provide access to authoritative resources including the Growth Hub Portal, a stock of business focussed literature, and an ‘Ask Us’ reference service for Mint business information. Our larger Libraries also provide free, convenient and professional meeting spaces.

Coleford Library in the Forest of Dean also boasts the Innovation Lab, designed to connect business start ups, SME’s and entrepreneurs with the digital technology of the future. The Lab offers a series of business focussed workshops, from 3D printed prototypes and design support, to the creation of immersive digital marketing content for websites and social media.

Email the Innovation Lab

Follow the Innovation Lab on Twitter and Instagram @ilabnetwork

Start and Grow Enterprise

Start and Grow Enterprise is a fantastic project supporting entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in Gloucestershire. The project can support anyone with a business idea, and existing start-ups trading up to 3 years. Benefit from free training, events, networks and resources, plus access to mentoring, co-working space, and the opportunity to apply for funding.

Start and Grow Enterprise is a University of Gloucestershire programme, part-funded by ERDF, and will run until December 2019. We are based at The Growth Hub in Gloucester.

Find out more and sign up

Follow us on social media for the latest start-up news and events @UoGStartandGrow

Email us

Call: 01242 715477

Our information flyer can be viewed from the Download section on the right

Level 2 Certificate in Preparing for a Business Venture

Adult Education in Gloucestershire are delivering a highly rewarding and successful programme to help people transition into self-employment. Their ‘Level 2 Certificate in Preparing for a Business Venture’ course is aimed to help you explore and prepare a business idea and to develop the skills needed to launch a successful small business.

For more information:

Business plans, finance and funding

Having a written business plan will help you to secure finance, as well as helping you clarify your business idea, spot potential problems, set out your goals and measure your progress. It is a document that describes your business covering objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts.

For detailed information about how to write a business plan see the:

For high quality, free advice for new businesses (including help with business planning) visit:

Young people aged 18-30 can get help to work out if their business ideas are viable, and decide whether self-employment is right for them from:

The programme offers mentoring and financial support to start a business.

Getting the right type of finance for your business is essential. There are several different ways of financing a business including loans, investment and occasionally grants. For more information see:

Business premises

Working from home

Many people run their business from home when they start up as it is convenient and saves the extra cost of renting commercial premises, for more information see:

Commercial premises

In many instances it is either not convenient or not possible to run the business from home. The Commercial property page includes details of commercial property to let, as well as business parks in the area.

If you operate from commercial premises you will almost certainly need to register for business rates unless the landlord is paying them as set out in the terms of the lease. For further information, including the possible reliefs available, see:

Food business

All premises that prepare, serve or sell food or drink must register regardless of whether or not the premises operate commercially. Registration is free of charge and can either be done online or by completing and returning a form. Failure to register is an offence. For further information see:


Many businesses need a license or permit of some kind. The Government run a Licence finder tool which acts as a guide. For further local advice see:

Further information about starting a business