Organisations that Help and Support Small Businesses
If you are a Ukrainian refugee and you want to start your own business, there are a number of organisations that help and support people. We’ve listed a few organisations on this page (there are many others!). Rather than list all the organisations out there, which could be overwhelming for you, we suggest starting with the ones mentioned and exploring further.
Some of the organisations are charities or not-for-profit organisations; others may operate on a membership basis, whereby for an annual fee, you can access a number of useful resources and helplines, as well as the membership network itself.
Note that we do not endorse any of the organisations listed, and recommend you do your own research as well. It is at your discretion to decide whether these represent value for money and how reputable they are. TrustPilot is a useful review site where you can see what other people think of a particular organisation.
Government support for small businesses
The Government has set up a number of regional helplines for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that you can call to get help with setting up your own business. You can also use email or webchat to ask for advice. Find out more here. This is probably a good place to start.
There are also loans and grants available from a number of schemes that the Government backs. Find out more here. Loans obviously need to be paid back and you will need to pass a personal credit check, whereas grants do not need to be paid back, but tend to be smaller in value.
You can ask your local Job Centre about the New Enterprise Allowance programme, which is designed to support you if you receive Universal Credit and want help with starting up your own business.
You can also contact Acas for help with employment law and any other queries you may have relating to work and businesses.
The Prince’s Trust for young entrepreneurs
If you are aged 30 or under, The Prince’s Trust (originally set up by King Charles when he was a prince) can support you in setting up a business.
They run a 4 stage programme called The Enterprise Programme; find out more here.
Even if you decide you don’t want to sign up to the programme, there are free resources such as business plan templates that you can access here.
Barclays Eagle Labs
Barclays Eagle Labs is part of Barclays Bank, one of the UK’s biggest banks. They offer members who want to start a UK-based business a variety of useful tools such as:
- Growth programmes
- Events and workshops
- Connecting with investors
You can find out more at the following link: https://labs.uk.barclays/about/. They have a number of locations across the country.
Digital Boost (https://www.digitalboost.org.uk/) provide free mentoring for small businesses and charities through a network of volunteers from organisations such as Google. They also provide masterclasses and other resources. You can arrange for multiple free 60 minute advice sessions with mentors in areas such as:
- Marketing and branding
- Business strategy and operations
- E-commerce and payments
For a full list of areas where you may able to find a mentor to help, see https://organisation.digitalboost.org.uk/mentor-select
Federation of Small Businesses
The Federation for Small Businesses (FSB) provide support to their members for an annual membership fee starting from £147 for a self-employed business.
See https://www.fsb.org.uk/ for their website. Membership benefits include guides, resources, webinars, discounted services and more.
IPSE (Association of Independent Professionals and Self-Employed)
IPSE (https://www.ipse.co.uk/) is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to support the self-employed. They have different membership levels, starting from around £10 a month. For the basic membership, the benefits include access to contract and finance templates that you can use for your business, and access to legal and tax helplines.