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Portsmouth City Council has a dedicated business team to help you find support to help get your business started, grow and develop. For more information including:

  • Business intelligence and news
  • Intellectual property
  • Patents, trademarks and copyrights
  • Starting up and expansion
  • Funding
  • Relocation
  • Events and discussion groups
  • Additional training needs and apprenticeships


Tweet: @portsmouthbiz

Visit the Invest Portsmouth website for details of opportunities.

Call: 023 9284 1641

Sign up for our business update bulletin.

Business and Growth Guide is available here.

Your council support and contacts

Sources of support for your business

A number of organisations can help you with developing your business case, financial planning and completing a successful application form to access funding.

Solent LEP Growth Hub

The Solent LEP Growth hub is a free business support service available to all Solent based businesses with advisors who are here to simplify and signpost you to opportunities, both locally and nationally.

Visit the Solent Growth Hub website or call 023 9268 8055

Outset Start & Grow Programme 

Funded by Portsmouth City Council through the UK Community Renewal Fund, this programme supports micro businesses across the city to take up the new opportunities emerging following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Portsmouth entrepreneurs and companies have until the end of June 2022 to join in with the Outset Start & Grow

PCC – Shaping Portsmouth

Crowdfund Portsmouth is an innovative partnership between Shaping Portsmouth, Crowdfunder UK and Portsmouth City Council. We’re keen to support new business start-ups and SMEs looking to grow.

Visit the Crowdfunder website.

PCC Business Support

Friendly business support service: referrals to specific business advice agencies, funding support, premises search, support with other council services e.g. Planning permission, business rates, licensing etc.

Email, call 023 9284 1641 or visit the business section on the council website.

Business Support Bank

(Shaping Portsmouth) Offers free peer to peer mentoring, advice and guidance on how to develop a business to recent start-ups and established businesses in the PO1 – PO6 postcode area.
0300 123 1 567

Portsmouth Central Library

Advice about IP, patents and business information.

Call 023 9283 4118, email or find more information about Central Library’s business support on our website.

PCC Markets Team and Retail advisor

Advice about market information. Call 023 9284 1068.

PCC Business Update Newsletter

To receive bi-monthly PCC business electronic newsletter for alerts on business news, funding and events. Sign up on GovDelivery.

PCC Business Premises

Help with finding commercial property. Call 023 9282 6225.

PCC Business Rates Team

Advice and information about paying non-domestic rates. Visit our business rates page for more information, call 023 9268 8588 or email

Enterprise Business South

Business Startup Advice and loans (part of Business South and part of Cavendish consortium of business advisers) are agents for the Virgin Start-Up loan scheme – £25,000 loan per director, up to £100k. Loans can be as little as £1k to qualify for 15 hours free mentoring from Virgin or Enterprise First for first 12 months.

0800 652 6254 or visit the Enterprise Business South website.

Enterprise Nation and Google

Enterprise Nation is partnered with Google to help small businesses across the UK access Mentors from Google to help them achieve their goals.

  • Become more discoverable on Google Search
  • Create a digital marketing strategy
  • Set up a social media strategy
  • Sell products more effectively online
  • Understand Google Analytics access Mentors from Google

New Enterprise Allowance – Videos and promotional material about helping unemployed people become self-employed.  Speak to your Jobcentre Plus work coach; they will explain how NEA could help you. They will also tell you about the support volunteer business mentors offer in the early months of trading.

View the new enterprise allowance campaign 

Simply Business – How to write a business plan

This step-by-step guide explains more about how to make a business plan shine, helping you fill in each of those sections (and more)

Shaping Portsmouth – Business Digital Resilience

The Business Digital Resilience programme is empowering small businesses across the region to make smarter security decisions.

Business Support Bank (Shaping Portsmouth)

Offers free peer to peer mentoring, advice and guidance on how to develop a business to recent start-ups and established businesses in the PO1 – PO6 postcode area.


Offers business start-up advice. Visit the Abri website or call 0300 123 1 567.

If you’re interested in self-employment Consider Abri’s (formerly Radian) FREE self-employment training programme ‘Create’. They have new courses for their consideration online. Check out their new free webinar sessions for November 2021.

Federation of Small Businesses

Help self employed and smaller businesses to achieve their ambitions, providing business services and products to business owners.

NatWest  – Business Builder

Whether you’re still in the idea phase or are looking to grow; our free Business Builder online course, packed with practical resources, can help you confidently take your next steps.

Manufacturing Growth Programme

A free business support service, providing guidance and funding exclusively to Manufacturing businesses.

Find out more.

University of Portsmouth Innovation Space & Biz School

Offers workshops, advice and workspace.

University of Portsmouth Business services

The University offers a wide range of services to help support and grow your business, including business events and programmes.

Visit the University of Portsmouth website for more information

Cathedral Innovation Centre

Offers advice and workspace. Email

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce

A not-for-profit business support and networking organisation, engages the voice, expertise and experience of thousands of businesses across the County, influencing decision-making and shaping practical solutions.

The GREAT Business Website

Government services to businesses. Visit the Gov.UK website for more information.

The Hive Portsmouth

Support Provided – Social Enterprise start up support, Charity information, Funding search, Workspace, Networks.

Visit the Hive Portsmouth website, call 023 9268 8880, or email

Department of International Trade

For support with international trade and exporting opportunities, free advice and support.

Access to DIT’s co-investment Internationalisation Fund.

Eligible SMEs can email  register for IF events via Newable – DIT – Internationalisation Fund

Access, for eligible businesses, to 1-2-1 advice from a network of expert international trade advisers, operating across 7 sector teams.

A range of free virtual ‘Export Support Series’ events and workshops to help SMEs develop the skills to export, these  include workshops that help businesses research and select international markets; price exports for profit; win and deliver business internationally. Places can be booked via the government website and Newable – Events

DIT are scheduling several more of their successful series of ‘Explore New Markets’ events with expert speakers focussing on opportunities in a range of FTA markets. Details and links to the registration pages will be shared in due course.

‘Going Global in a Day’ – which provides access to DIT’s commercial teams overseas and international buyers – will return.

Support for companies to attend sector focussed events both virtually and overseas. Details and links to the registration pages will be shared soon.

Access to the DIT South East enquiry hub. Businesses can contact DIT South East via 0330 300 0012 or for help with export enquiries, and onward triage to complementary DIT local and national programmes.


Innovate UK

UK’s national innovation agency supports innovative businesses taking a new idea to market. Funding is available for SMEs with game changing or disruptive innovations with significant potential to impact the UK economy.

Any technology can apply, including arts, design, media, creative. Funding is available through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund £4.7bn over 4 years, bringing research with business to meet major industrial and societal challenges

View the ongoing programme of competitions on Gov.UK. You can also get in touch with the University of Portsmouth contact at

Innovation Vouchers

If you are an academic or a business (SME) that has an idea for an innovative business project and you want to look at ways to develop these ideas through a collaborative partnership, then the University of Portsmouth’s Innovation Voucher scheme may be the right tool for you. This is facilitated through matched funding of up to £5,000

Visit the Research and Innovation services website, or contact the Collaboration Managers through the Business Engagement Team at

Greentech South: EMphasis3

EMphasis3 CO2 Reductions Project is an ERDF funded SME support project. It combines the expertise and experience of the University of Portsmouth – lead partner, the University of Winchester and the cleantech cluster, Greentech South. SMEs can access:

  • Free energy efficiency audits
  • Energy efficiency grants, up to £25,000
  • Research and innovation grants, up to £25,000

Visit the Greentech South website.

Gigabit Broadband Voucher

The Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme provides vouchers up to £2500 to contribute to (and in many cases fully fund) the installation cost of a full fibre gigabit capable connection.

Visit the Gigabit Broadband Voucher website.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps businesses to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with a university and a graduate to work on a specific project.

Part grant funded If you are a small to medium-sized business, you will need to contribute a third of the costs. The average annual contribution to a project for an SME is around £23,000.

View Gov.UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership guidance. You can also get in touch with the University of Portsmouth contact at

Employment Allowance

Small Business employers can get £2,000 by claiming this relief on National Insurance bills. View Gov.UK’s employment allowance guidance.

New Enterprise Allowance

Unemployed people, who have a business idea, can be ready to trade in 8 weeks and who are receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), ESA or IS. Provides 8 weeks mentoring and a NEA for up to 26 weeks.

View Gov.UK’s guidance on New Enterprise Allowance.


Funding is available up to 90% of the cost through the levy scheme. View Gov.UK’s information about employing an apprentice.

New levy – All Companies with a pay bill under £3m will attract an initial voucher value of £15,000. Find more detailed apprenticeship information on Gov.UK.

Apprenticeship funding for SMEs

The funding, from Portsmouth City Council, can be for new employees or existing staff looking to boost their skills. Companies can get funding for one or more apprenticeships.

The offer is open to firms in the city with an annual payroll of under £3m. Email

Better Business Finance

Provides support to businesses looking to raise finance. Visit the Better Business Finance website.

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

Provides grants for new entrepreneurs to travel to other EU countries on an ‘exchange’ basis. No age limit but you must be a planning a business or an entrepreneur who started a business within the last 3 years.

Hosts or entrepreneurs can apply. Visit the Erasmus Entrepreneurs website for more information.

Department for Transport (DfT) e-Cargo bike grant

Organisations across all sectors can access grants towards the purchase of eCargo bikes for their delivery staff in England.

Application deadline: 14 December 2021. Visit the Energy Saving Trust website for more information about the grant.


School for Start-ups

Start-up loans up to £25,000 at 6.19% fixed APR. Visit the start-up loans website for more information.

Transmit Startups

Government start-up funding available from Enterprise First in partnership with Transmit Startups loans; up to £25,000. Visit the Transmit Startups website for more information.

Prince’s Trust

For those aged 18-30 interested in being self-employed. Low interest loans of £5,000 with additional one-to-one support, training and mentoring. Visit the Prince’s Trust website for more information.

Start Up Loans Company

Start-up finance (around £2,500) for over 18-year-olds looking to start and grow their own businesses and for companies up to 12 months old. The loan must be repaid within 5 years at a fixed rate of interest.

Visit the start-up loans website for more information.

Fredericks Foundation

Loans for disadvantaged people looking to set up or expand their own business. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have made a genuine application for funds to their bank or a mainstream lender and been turned down. Max £10,000 for start-ups, £20,000 for established businesses.

Visit the Fredericks Foundation website for more information.

Let’s Do Business

Business loan finance for start-ups and existing businesses who have experienced difficulties in accessing mainstream finance. Visit the Let’s Do Business Group website for more information.

British Business Bank ‘Start Up’ ‘Scale Up’ ‘Stay ahead’

A loan guarantee scheme to facilitate lending to viable businesses. The British Business Bank is a state-backed economic development bank that supports economic growth by simplifying access to finance for SMEs.

Visit the British Business Bank website for more information.

Funding Circle

Funded by the British Business Bank, loans are available for SMEs at competitive rates. Visit the Funding Circle website for more information.

Big Lottery Fund

Reaching Communities – visit the Lottery Fund website for more information.

Better Business Finance

Help with business planning, accessing finance, and finding a mentor. Visit the Better Business Finance website for more information.


Some grants are available – visit the UnLtd website for more information.

Arts Council Prosper Fund

Creative United funding loans – visit the Creative United website for more information.

Portsmouth Lottery

Set up to support community projects in the local area, the Portsmouth Lottery operates on the principle of raising money within the community for the community. We empower local good causes to raise money in a fun and effective way.

Visit the Portsmouth Lottery website for more information.

Other financial support and advice

Help to start up and grow

Offers ways of obtaining finance – email

Small business rates relief

Get advice on business rates relief by calling 023 9268 8588.

The Heritage Alliance

An easy-to-use guide to potential sources of support, financial and otherwise, for anyone seeking to undertake projects related to the heritage of the United Kingdom.

Visit The Heritage Alliance website for more information.

Angel Co-Fund (British Business Bank)

Makes equity investments of between £100,000 and £1 million alongside syndicates of business angels to support smaller businesses with strong growth potential. Business applicants must have secured a strong group of private angel investors who are interested in make a good commercial investment in the business.

View the Angel Co-Fund information on the British Business Bank website.

Crowd Cube

Offers exposure to thousands of potential investors. Visit the Crowd Cube website.

The Business and Finance Support Finder tool

An in-depth database of information about grants, loans and other financial assistance available to businesses in the UK. View Gov.UK’s business and finance support finder.

The Business Finance Guide

The main things to consider and finance options available to businesses, from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. Visit the Business Finance Guide website.


Business Builders

Business Builders welcomes all business owners to structured, yet informal, breakfast meetings held regularly at Fareham and Langstone. Our purpose is to share ideas and expertise from a wide variety of markets and put those ideas into practice helping us to reach our business goals. We also have some fun along the way!

Portsmouth City Council
  –  First Friday Networking

Businesses of all sizes are welcome, we meet to make connections, talk about our businesses and find ways of helping each other. It’s a great opportunity to meet like minded people in an informal, friendly atmosphere.  Come along, do some networking, and have some fun! If you understand the value of face to face networking – come along – if you haven’t yet experienced it – come along – its informal, friendly and people do business! Usually held at The Portsmouth Enterprise Centre, Quartermaine Road.

University of Portsmouth


After a challenging year for everyone, we have decided to deliver Big Networking Night with a difference. Join us on a night of entertainment, laughter, and celebration. Obviously, there will be plenty of time to network with the other guests before settling down for an evening with our talk show host. The talk show will be seated.


Shaping Portsmouth Conference

Annual Conference 28 January 2022

Copy: Shaping Portsmouth’s hit Annual Conference returns as a face-to-face event. This year’s theme is the People of Our City, looking to highlight and celebrate the people who make up a cross-section of Portsmouth’s fantastic people.