Start Your Own Business

A round-up of links to good stuff to get you started and keep you going in creative enterprise…

Ideas Tap – I like this site so much I’ve added it at the top. It’s a creative network for opps/jobs/funding etc. I recommend following their social media feeds, so you can see when new stuff pops up.

Creative Boom – an online creative community. The ‘tips’ section is worth a look. If you follow their Facebook page they also do a Friday roll call to get featured on the blog.

GOV.UK –  Official advice & resources for businesses.

HM Revenue & Customs – for tax, national insurance & self-assessment issues. If you’re starting a business or becoming a freelancer you must register here. It’s quick and easy and if you’re a soletrader there is very little paperwork.

Intellectual Property Office – info about trademarks, copyright, patents etc.

Companies House – where you must register to become incorporated e.g. as a limited company, a limited partnership or community interest company. They also have a database to check the business name you want is available, this is worth checking even if you’re starting out as a soletrader as you may want to register later and don’t want a name-clash to complicate things.

Planning Portal – information on change of use for a commercial property e.g. converting a shop to a cafe.

Valuation Office Agency – for help calculating business rates & finding the rateable value (RV) of a commercial property.

Apprenticeships – info & grants on taking on apprentices.

Creative England – support and funding opportunities esp. in filmmaking, tech, new media.

Clearly So – network, support & resources for social enterprises and ethical business practice.

Arts & Business – for developing private & public sector partnerships in the arts.

My Business – small business practical tips.

British Association for women entrepreneurs

Nesta – resources (and funding opps) for start-ups & innovation in the creative industries & new tech.


Creative Pool UK to get listed as a freelance creative (or find someone to work with).


Nottingham & the East Midlands –

Creative Quarter’s list of business support for Nottingham – includes their popular business rates relief scheme.

Real Creative Futures – free support for creative businesses based at New Art Exchange, in partnership with Nottingham Business Ventures (NBV).

Projector – free support for creative businesses, based at Broadway Cinema.

Creative Greenhouse – for the East Midlands – network & opportunities for creative businesses, particularly good for for decorative arts and craft.

SEEM – Social Enterprise East Midlands.

East Midlands Incubation Network

Nottingham Business Venture – support, short courses and networking opps in Notts.

The Renewal Trust – offer a variety of support to businesses & entrpreneurs living in the Sneinton & St Anns area of Nottingham.

Nottinghamshire Community Foundation– local giving

Elsewhere –

Creative England

Scotland’s Cultural Enterprise Office

Wales’ Cultural Enterprise

North Yorkshire Business Link

Most universities have support programmes and advice centres for people seeking to set up their own business (even if you didn’t study at this, or any university, you are often still able to access them)… e.g Nottingham Trent University have The Hive & Coventry have ICE – Institute for Creative Enterprise.

Also local authorities often offer similar programmes and support… e.g Sheffield City Council run an Enterprise Programme


Focus on Funding – for the East Midlands. Particularly good for businesses with a social purpose.

GRANTnet – a tailored search engine for finding various grants and funding opps suitable to your needs. It’s really good, but awkwardly you need to access it via a local authority e.g. Nottingham City Council link to GRANTnet. Ignore that it seems to only cover ‘sport’, this is misleading!

Prince’s Trust – Includes grants and low cost finance for 18-30 year olds.

GOV.UK guide to financing

Kickstarter  & Indiegogo – crowd-funding for creative projects

Arts Council Funding Options

The arts council also provide a PDF of ‘Other Sources of Funding’, the latest update can be found in their list of Guidance & Information Sheets. Here are a few picks, their more detailed version includes educational funding bodies and independent trusts & foundations. They have currently left some clangers in there though (UK Film Council & Businesslink, both now defunct)…

Charity Bank – lending for charities and social enterprises from an ethical organisation who understand specialist needs.

National Lottery funds include –

Awards for All is a grants scheme for local communities. There are different schemes for each of the four countries of the UK.

The Big Lottery Fund provides funding for charities, voluntary organisations, and projects that improve the health, education and environment of communities.

The Heritage Lottery Fund helps communities to celebrate, look after and learn more about our heritage.

Also –

Nesta – funding innovation in science, technology & the arts

BFI – British Film Institute – advice, funding & support for filmmakers

Creative England – Esp. good for new media/tech/filmmakers

Youth Music is a UK-wide charity that targets young people living in areas of social and economic need. The charity funds music activities run by not-for-profit orgs for people aged up to 18.

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation – supporting charities & non-profits/social enterprises in community development.

As always, if you have any recommendations please add them to the comments or email

We like to stay up to date, if any of these hyperlinks are now dead or cyber-squatted, please let us know.

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