Support for start-ups

Do you want to run your own business and need help in getting started? For practical and free business support Think Sandwell is here for you.

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Our team provides one-to-one business advice and help with all aspects of starting a new business, from planning and market research to marketing and more. We also advise on the types of financial support available for start-up businesses and how best to access it.

We can help you gain the confidence and skills you need to start your entrepreneurial journey and later on when your business is thriving we’ll be here to help you grow. Our service is free because we want businesses in Sandwell to thrive in order to create and sustain jobs and keep our local economy healthy.

Are you ready? To take your first step email us using our contact form. We’re happy to help.

See also: support for social enterprises.
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Local business community

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce has a Start-Up Business Club, a place to make new connections, learn from experienced professionals and develop the skills and understanding needed to take your new business venture to the next level.

Joining the business club is usually £25 a month, but there are a number of upcoming events which are free to non-members. These include:

Tuesday 22 June – Start-Up Legal Clinic with Higgs & Sons
Wednesday 14 July – Start-Up Masterclass – HR Employment Law with Higgs & Sons
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Business resources

COBRA

COBRA (Complete Business Reference Adviser) is a reference resource for business advisers and information professionals who support micro-business owners, small firms and new business start-ups. It’s available for you to access for free from Sandwell libraries.

COBRA provides critical business facts, compliance and trading details covering hundreds of the most common (and many of the less common) small business trades, sectors and professions.

You can access COBRA via Sandwell Libraries. Please note that you will need to be a member of Sandwell Libraries and enter your membership number. This is free and you can sign up easily.

Enterprise Nation

Enterprise Nation is a community of small businesses and business advisers offering trusted business support. It’s well worth signing up to the newsletter for news of business events and valuable opportunities/

Launched in June 2020, the Amazon Small Business Accelerator by Enterprise Nation is a free, online educational programme for anyone who wants to start a new online business or grow an existing one.

SPEED

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Formerly Enterprise Action, the SPEED project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. SPEED seeks to enable individuals to access support in starting a business or enterprise in the Black Country and Marches regions, offering match-funding opportunities, development workshops and business consultancy. Learn more at www.speedstartup.org.
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Financial support

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Loans from £25k to £150k are being offered to young companies in the region, through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. The £17m fund is being managed by Wolverhampton company BCRS Small Business Loans West Midlands. The loans are financially backed by the European Regional Development Fund and designed to help businesses that are unable to access finance from traditional lenders, such as banks. To be eligible, businesses must be based in the West Midlands, have been registered for less than a year and already be producing revenue, or have contracts in place to show that revenue is imminent. Learn more

Start Up Loans

Start Up Loans is a government-funded scheme to provide advice, loans and mentoring to new businesses. Register your interest online and work with a business adviser to get your application ready before you apply for finance.

Virgin

Virgin Start Up Loans is a not-for-profit organisation that helps entrepreneurs in England get funding, resources and advice. Its main focus is to help people to get the support they need to turn a great idea in to a successful and sustainable business. If you are over 18 and a British citizen or legal UK resident who wants to start or expand a new business that’s less than a year old in England then you may be eligible for a start-up loan. Find out more about the scheme.

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Finding a property

If you’re looking for workspace or offices for your business in and around Sandwell, see how we can help.

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Mentoring

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Mentorsme is a free site giving you access to a list of business mentoring organisations across Britain. It has an easy-to-use search engine which allows you to refine your search according to the life stage of your business and your location.
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Page last reviewed in May 2021

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