• Women's Organisations
  • Government Support
  • Funding
  • Resources for Special Groups
  • Enterprise Agencies
  • Government Department & Agencies
  • National Trade Associations
  • Helpful Websites & Organisations


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There are lots of information, advice, support and resources...




(Also see the NETWORKING page)



Women’s Business Network

Women in Publishing

British Association of Women Entrepreneurs

European Federation of Black Women Business Owners

National Association of Women Business Owners

Women in Technology

National Black Women’s Network

Chicks with Bricks

Female Franchise

Women Returners Network

National Childminders Association of England and Wales

Women’s Leadership Institute:

Association of Women in Science & Engineering (AWISE)

Association of Women in Property

Global Women Innovation and Inventors Network

High Tech Women

The Mother’s Union

National Council for One Parent Families

National Federation of Women’s Institute


National Council for Women

North Wales Women’s Network

Professional Family Women’s Network

Scottish Business Women

Thinking Women

Women’s International Shipping and Trade Association (WISTA)

Women in Banking and Finance

Women Experts (European Database)

Women into Computing

Women’s Design Service

Women Engineering Society

Women in Journalism

Women’s Food and Farming Union

Women’s Business Network

Women and Manual Trades



The former government funded agency and association for women’s business organisation. Sign up for e-newsletters and get updates on news and resources available to women.


The Women’s Business Centre

The first ever purposed built women’s business centre to help women with getting back to work and starting their own business.


Make Your Mark Connect &

If you start your own networking group, you can be listed on this site and they will help you promote your events.


Business Link London – Women’s Online Centre

Business Link has a section of it’s London site dedicated to information for women.


The Women’s Library


European Federation of Black Women Business Owners

An international organisation that aims brings black women business owners together.


Dynamic Asian Women Network (DAWN)



Faith Popcorn is best selling author, adviser and trend analyst. Her organisation has connections with FTSE 500 companies and the public sector organisations. It is a body that is dedicated to the advancement of women in society.


Women’s Leadership Institute

An organisation that provides extensive training in business.



A research focused organisation on a wide variety of women issues


Centre for Women’s Business Research

The site for US based organisation but still worth visiting for insight into how women are doing business in the US.


Forum for Women Entrepreneurs

Very helpful organisation for networking, events and advice.


National Association of Women Business Owners

A nationwide association of women in wide range of different types of businesses with networking opportunities.


Springboard Ventures

A helpful organisation full of advice and funding for women with high technology business.


Centre for New Futures

An American organisation run by two very successful and experience women.


Babson College

Babson College is one of America’s top universities. It’s Centre for Women’s Leadership conducts important research on women entrepreneurship.


Women into Business (The Small Business Bureau Ltd)


Government Departments & Agencies


The National Federation of Enterprise Agencies

Contains the membership details of enterprise agencies in the country and good for finding business support in you local area.


British Chambers of Commerce


The Department of Trade and Industry


A useful site to find information on government departments, exporting, and new government funding initiatives.

Companies House

You can check for registered business names and then register your company details.


The British Library – Business & IP Centre

Lots of information about your particular idea, advice, workshops and events.


Financial Services Authority (FSA)


Federation of Small Business


Health and Safety Executive


HM Revenue & Customs


Information Commissioner’s Office


Office of National Statistics


Trading Standards Institute


Criminal Records Bureau


Department of Work and Pensions


Immigration Agency


Job Centres


Food Standards Agency


The UK Patent Office & Copyright


Consumer Direct


Equal Opportunities Commission


National Trade Associations


There is a trade association for just about any industry. They are a valuable source of inside information, know-how and contacts. It would be a great investment for your business to pay to become a member and instantly have access to potential customers and trading partners.


The Arts Council


The Crafts Council


The Public Relations Consultants Associations


The Chartered Institute of Public Relations


The Periodical Publishers Association


The Direct Marketing Association


The Direct Selling Association


The Advertising Association


Association of Accountants (ACCA)


British Franchise Associations


British Insurance Brokers’ Association


The Chartered Institute of Marketing


Institute of Grocery Distribution


Financial Ombudsman Service


Franchise Development Services (FDS)


Forum of Private Business


The Law Society


The Booksellers Association


Association of Convenience Stores


The British Antique Dealers’ Association


British Clothing Industry Association (BCIA)


British Florist Association


Bridal Industry Suppliers Association


British Retail Consortium (BRC)


British Shops and Stores Association


British Toy and Hobby Association


Fine Art Trade Guild


Federation of Sports and Play Associations (FSPA)


Flower & Plants Association


Horticultural Trades Association (HTA)


Independent Footwear Retailers Association


Knitting & Crochet Guild


Master Florist


National Associations of Goldsmiths


National Association of Health Stores


National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association


National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN)


Outdoor Industries Association


Retail Bridalwear Association


Toy Retailers Association


Bookkeepers’ Organisation


Business Angels Network


Bytestart (small business tax advice)


Cleaning and Support Services Organisation


Equifax (provides business reports and credit information)


Institute of Customer Services


Internet Advertising Bureau


National Federation of Enterprise Agency


Small Business Success


Hotel & Catering International Management Association (HCIMA)


British Hospitality Association


British Sandwich Association


Health and Safety Training Courses


Catering Equipment Suppliers’ Association


The National Association of Farmers’ Markets


Nationwide Caterers Association (and mobile caterers)


Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)


The Coaching and Mentoring Network


Women’s Business Development Agency


UK Business Forums


British Employment Law


Sources of Experts


Legal Advice: (get free legal documents that you can tailor to your needs)


The Small Business Bureau


Business Debtline 0800 197 6026


Greeting Card Association


British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy


United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy


British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cometology


Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority


British Register of Complementary Practitioners


Federation of Holistic Therapists


Massage Training Institute


Shiatsu Society


Reiki Association


UK Reiki Federation


Yoga Biomedical Trust




Finance Guarantee (Replaces the Small Firms Loans Guarantee (SFLG)


As part of the government’s Solution for Business scheme, this initiative is design to help small businesses who do not have security to secure a commercial loan. The loan is administered by a select group of organisations and banks. The government will guarantee 75% of the loan applied for which you must pay 2% premium on the outstanding balance of the loan a year. You can borrow between £1,000 to £1 million, payable from 3 months to up to 10 year terms.


GLE One London

Start-up Loan (up to £10,000)

Growth Loan (up to £100,000 to existing businesses)

And £250,000 (to non-profit distributing enterprises)

These loans are only available to those who have been turned down by other banks (last resort). The interest rates may be slightly higher than that of a high street bank. You will also have the help of a business adviser as you start your business.

Community Development Finance Association

This is the trade association of community development finance institutions. This organisation can help you find local providers of loans for small businesses and social enterprises.


Social Enterprise

The Social Enterprise Loan Fund Ltd

Provides funding or information on organisations who can provide funding to small businesses or social enterprises.


A charity that supports social entrepreneurs. Includes information about practical and financial support that is available.



Other Funding Organisations


The Social Enterprise Loan Fund Ltd

Provides funding or information on organisations who can provide funding to small businesses or social enterprises.


Access to Finance

The Access to Finance Programme is designed to support small businesses across all the 33 London boroughs in raising finance either to start-up or expand. It helps you prepare your proposal for funding. You can book an appointment at the East London Small Business Centre.


Head for Business

This is an organisation that’s helps individuals and other organisations or community groups to discuss and develop their business ideas.


Street Cred (Quaker Social Action)

This is a micro-credit lending organisation that helps unemployed women in East London start a business.



The Prince’s Trust Loans

Provides low-interest loans for young people (30 and under) starting their own business.


Online information on grants


Shell LiveWire

Source of free information and advice for young people looking to start a business in the UK.


Business Angels/Investors


Angels Den

Connects business angels with entrepreneurs.

Dragon’s Den

Allows you to pitch your ideas to a panel of investors for funding of up to £250,000. Some of those who apply can be seen in it’s television programme on BB2.


Dragon’s Den Online

This is the online version and only has funding for up to £50,000.

Business Angels Network


Venture Capital

British Venture Capital Association


Support for Special Groups


Ethnic minority:


BME Women’s Aspirations Network

For the black and ethnic minority business women. Monthly network meetings, courses and events.


National Black Women’s Network

An organisation dedicated to raising the profile and achievements of black women in society.


Faith based businesses

ABI Associates- Faith In Business


Encourages enterprise within the Black and Asian Community. Provides business support and training and can help with loan applications and covers mostly West London.


Graduate Entrepreneurs


The National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship

Provides a wide range of information and services to help graduates into business.


Mature People (50+):


Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME)

If you are over fifty and wanting to start your own business, then there special resources to help you get started and networking opportunities with other mature business people.


Disabled People:


Disabled Entrepreneurs Network

Founded by the Association of Disabled Professional- an award winning and registered charity, the aim is to provide networking opportunities and information services for self-employed disabled people.


Ready to Start

Run by Leonard Cheshire Disability in partnership with Barclays, provides disabled entrepreneurs with specialist help.


Low Income/Living on Benefits:


The government runs different schemes to help people get back into work or start a business and gives you a little more to help you stay in work by way of extra benefits and allowances. You might be able to still receive some of these benefits while you start your business.


New Deal Plus/New Deal for Lone Parents-

Self-Employment Programme (soon to be changed to Flexible New Deal)

If you have been on Income Support or Jobseekers for several months, you can ask to go on this programme. It allows you to keep your all your benefits for up to 6 months while you start your business. There are 3 stages. You have to first see a business advisor to discuss your idea and do research, attend a short course and then start trading. You will also receive £15 a week for expenses.


Budgeting Loan

Budgeting Loans is a one off payment for essential items. You can get it if you are on Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance. You can use it to buy equipment or anything to do with your business start up. It is means tested and has to be paid back but in very small amounts usually over 2 years. (lone parents can get up £812, couples £1,500)


Crisis Loan

This is a small amount you could apply for if you need money very quickly like in cases of emergency or disaster. They are interest free but have to be paid back. You have to give specific reasons why you need the money.


Council Tax – low income rate

After you start your business and if you only make a small income, you may be able to get run on of about 2 weeks of the normal amount and then lower rate of Council Tax benefits


Housing Benefit – low income rate

This is same as the Council Tax, - run on and then lower rate if on low income. You have to apply for both before you start your business.


Other benefits to consider:

  • Sure Start Maternity Grant
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Carers Allowance
  • For more information :
  • Ask your Job Centre or New Deal Advisor
  • Call the Benefits Enquiry Line on 0800882200
  • Check for benefits yourself on


To find out what you may be entitled to, visit

Look on the Business Link

Find out what funding is available locally from your local council.


Please note

Details of benefits are subject to change, please seek advice from the appropriate departments. You can only get some these payments if you have been on benefits for a certain amount of time.




Other Sources of Funding


Business Awards

Awards are a great way to finance and raise the profile of your business. They are a mark of achievement and a valuable source of funding. Amounts vary but the potential future revenue it can generate can be an important reason why customers may decide between your products and another competitor. There are potential hundreds of awards competitions taking place around the country from various companies and organisations. You can apply for these in the early days of your business. You can find more information on business and networking sites. Visit the Business Link website for awards nationwide. Also see the EVENTS page for more ideas.




Business Plan Competitions

These are a useful way to find the money you need and helps you get valuable feedback from business experts. Most come with a cash prize and support. Look out for these on the web and forthcoming business exhibitions. Companies like BT have been known sponsor competitions with other enterprise organisations and in conjunction with their products.


Enterprise Agencies in London


Enterprise agencies are government funded organisations set up to help people get essential information and advice to allow them to successfully start their businesses. They provide help in many forms for free or for a small fee. Their activities and services that they offer can include start-up information, mentoring, help to find funding, incubator units and training courses.


The following are the enterprise agencies in the London area. If you live outside of London, contact the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies at for your nearest local enterprise agency.


GLE London (covers 33 London boroughs)


Brent Business Venture Ltd (covers Brent)


Business Enterprise Centre (covers Hammersmith and Fulham)


Business Extra (covers Southwark, Lambeth & Wandsworth)


Business Focus (covers South London)


Centa Business Services (covers Central London)


Croydon Business Venture Ltd (covers Croydon & London South)


East London Small Business Centre (covers Tower Hamlets, Newham, Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Dagenham)


Enterprise Enfield (covers North London and Broxbourne)


HBV Enterprise (covers Greater London)


Haringey Business Development Agency Ltd (covers Haringey, Enfield & Walthamstow)


Harrow in Business (covers West London: Harrow, Ealing, Brent, Hounslow & Hillingdon)


Portobello Business Centre Ltd (covers Central London)


Skills & Enterprise Development Academy (SEDA, covers London)


Small Business Solutions Ltd (covers London)


South East Enterprise Ltd (covers London)


The Innovatory (covers London)


Thurrock Local Enterprise Agency Limited



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