Business news and information

Please see below all the latest business news and information for the borough.

Woodland Carbon Fund

The Woodland Carbon Fund is a simple, demand-led grant scheme to boost the rate of woodland creation.

Receive up to £6,800 per hectare to create new woodland. If you provide permissive access across the woodland receive up to £8,500 per hectare (dependent on its location). Applications for the Woodland Carbon Fund opened on 10 November 2016.

For further information and the application process visit

How to Sell Abroad - A guide to exporting

The demand is out there. You should be too.

This is your opportunity to sell to the world.

Hampshire Countryside Awards by the Campaign to Protect Rural England - entries open 22 March to 30 June 2017

Entries are welcome from all sections of the Hampshire community; projects both big and small which support CPRE Hampshire's mission of 'standing up for the countryside'.

Categories and sponsors are:

  • Community and Voluntary - The Southern Co-operative
  • Young People - Steve's Leaves
  • Rural Enterprise - Hildon
  • Sustainable Buildings - Hastoe Group

Entry form and further information:

100% Business Rates Retention: further consultation on the design of the reformed system

In October 2015, the government committed that, by the end of the Parliament, local government should retain all taxes raised locally, including 100% of locally collected business rates. This amounts to a significant reform of the local government finance system.

This consultation is part of a process of ongoing engagement and collaboration with interested parties on the design of reforms. It seeks views on some of the detailed aspects of the design of the reformed system.

The consultation runs until 3rd May 2017.

Find out more about the consultation and how to respond.

Building our Industrial Strategy - Green Paper and Consultation

The Government wants to build an industrial strategy that addresses long-term challenges to the UK economy. Their aim is to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country.

This green paper sets out their approach and some early actions they have committed to take. It is not intended to be the last word, but instead to start a consultation.

They hope anyone with an interest will respond. They want to hear from every part of the country, every sector of industry and businesses of every size – and from the people who work in them and use them.

Find out more information about the green paper and consultation.

Launch of new EAFRD Calls

Three EAFRD calls in support of rural businesses, food processing and tourism have been launched.

Find out more about the new calls and the RDPE Growth Programme.

Businesses invited to join Goldman Sachs accelerator

Goldman Sachs is encouraging UK SMEs to register for its free ’10,000 Small Businesses UK’ programme which looks to equip small business leaders with the skills and tools they need to grow their businesses.

This comprehensive programme of business development and leadership support for small businesses with high growth potential is designed to help them grow.

Further information:

Hampshire Chamber E-learning

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce has recently launched a number of compliance and accredited E-learning courses at competitive prices for both member and non-member companies.

Courses include:

Care Certificate, Level 1, 2 & 3 Food Safety, Level 1, 2 & 3 Health and Safety, Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH), Level 2 Award in Customer Service, Level 2 Fire Safety, Manual Handling, Level 2 Spectator Safety, Level 2 Certificate in Warehousing and Storage

For more information contact the training department on 01329 242426 or email or visit

Apprentice recruitment fairs at Basingstoke College of Technology (BCOT)

Monday 15 March 2017 and Monday 19 June 2017

Stands are free to employers looking to recruit their next apprentice.

For more details contact Sally Claughton Tel: 01256 306451 or email

Basingstoke is on the map

The latest Nesta report for Creative England highlights that Basingstoke is identified as a significant creative cluster with a high concentration of growth rate of creative businesses playing an important part in the UK economy. Read the full report below.

PDF document Nesta report for Creative England (PDF, 5 Mb)

Employee volunteering

The Basingstoke Voluntary Action Volunteer Centre advertises a variety of locally-based volunteering opportunities. These may be of interest to companies who wish to achieve their CSR objectives. These include short term (8 – 16 hours) team-based projects, such as decoration of a room, garden clearance, a fundraising event etc., as well as individual opportunities to share specific skills, by eg setting up a simple database, offering training, or independently checking accounts. Further information can be found on the BVA website at

Grow your business with new degree apprenticeships at the University of Winchester

Grow your workforce productivity with new degree apprenticeship programmes in Digital & Technology Solutions – designed with business, for business. Degree apprenticeships are supported by government funding – for every £1 employers put in, government puts in £2.

To find out how your business could benefit from degree apprenticeships or to apply yourself, contact:

Stella McKnight, Director for Employer Partnerships, University of Winchester by emailing or phoning 01962 826478.

LEADER rural funding programme

LEADER is a European funding programme that provides grants of up to £50,000 to rural businesses, communities, farmers, foresters and land managers for projects that create jobs, help rural business growth and benefit the rural economy.

Projects funded under the LEADER programme must support one or more of the six following priorities:

  • support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
  • boost rural tourism
  • increase farm productivity
  • increase forestry productivity
  • provide rural services
  • provide cultural and heritage activities

LEADER could support innovation to make farming, rural economies and communities more sustainable. It could boost new and existing small and medium rural enterprises and the rural tourism economy.

The borough of Basingstoke and Deane is covered by two LEADER programmes:

To find out more and to receive information on forthcoming LEADER events, email with your name, organisation and contact details.

Please feel free to pass this on to other rural-based businesses within your networks.

Loddon and Test Leader Programme - Free One to One Workshops - 'How to complete an Outline Application to the LEADER Grant Programme'

The Loddon and Test LEADER Programme is offering an opportunity to book free one to one workshops with a LEADER advisor to learn how to complete and Outline Application. The offer is open to rural businesses, tourism projects, farmers, rural enterprises, foresters, woodland owners and communities that are located in the Loddon and Test LEADER area. In order to book a session, you must first complete a project enquiry form and return this by email. If eligible, we will then book you on a session so that you can learn how to complete and submit an Outline Application.

From supporting the future of UK farming, to assisting rural businesses to grow and develop, we offer a range of different grant programmes, with grants from £2,500 to £50,000. In assessing applications, they take account of the outcomes you will achieve, and how your project will contribute to the rural economy, community and environment. For further details and to book email:

Enterprise M3 LEP launches their growth hub for supporting businesses

Aimed at businesses looking to succeed in the Enterprise M3 area, the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub is an expert advice and resource network which helps business achieve results quickly through a personal, tailored service focused on Growth. More details:

Protecting British business from cyber attacks

GCHQ announces the re-issue of ’10 Steps to Cyber Security’, providing updated guidance on the practical steps that organisations can take to improve the security of their networks and the information carried on them. Read the full article on the GCHQ website

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) business support

HMRC has developed a range of online presentations to support businesses making tax easier, quicker, and simpler. Lasting about an hour, the webinars are live and interactive, so questions can be asked. To find a list of topics and dates see the HMRC website.

If you would like more information on how to set up a business, take a look at HMRC’s e-learning modules about Becoming an employer or Working for yourself

Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator

Managed by The FSE Group on behalf of Enterprise M3 LEP, the £5.5 million Funding Escalator is split as follows:

  • £4 million Expansion Loan Scheme providing between £50,000 and £200,000 to established SMEs
  • £1.5 million Growth Fund providing between £50,000 and £125,000 as an equity investment to earlier stage SMEs.

Further details about the Funding Escalator.

Air, land and sea mentoring and coaching programme

The Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) funded programme offering free mentoring and coaching to the aviation, marine and engineering sectors across the south is now available. For more information contact WSX Enterprise on 01329 223293 or email Simon Milton.

Start Up Loans

Start Up Loans offer personal loans for business purposes to help entrepreneurs start up their venture. They are available to anyone who is considering setting up a business or has been trading for up to one year. For more information call 02034 180860, email Alex Mitchell or see the Start Up Loans website.


Delivered by WSX Enterprise, Mentor-net, provides support to small businesses across the south. For more information call 01329 226199, email or visit the Mentor-net web site.

Trading overseas

International trade is key to the growth of UK exports and the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce’s Basingstoke office provides a comprehensive service to support businesses with this including advice on international trade documentation. It has close working relationships with overseas organisations and trade agencies and works in partnership with UK Trade and Investment. To find out more contact Wendy Brown or call 01256 338478.

Free business mentoring

Enterprise First can provide businesses with a free business mentor for up to 12 months allowing you to discuss your ideas, voice any areas of concern and benefit from their wealth of experience.. For more information visit the Enterprise First website, see their business mentoring flyer below or call 01252 319272.

PDF document Free business mentoring (PDF, 76 kb)

New programme to help businesses start and grow

If you have a great business idea but not sure what to do next? The Cavendish Group is managing a new start-up support programme to help you.

For further information, visit the Enterprise First webpage or contact The Cavendish Group by emailing

Innovate UK publish 2016/2017 Delivery Plan

As the UK government's innovation agency, their aim is to inspire and support pioneering UK businesses to create the industries of the future.

They have just published the 2016/17delivery plan. In it, you will discover some important changes in the way they support business innovation.

Click here to view the 2016/2017 delivery plan.

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce have partnered with Rangewell to help businesses find, compare, and apply for all types of business finance for every business need.

For further information visit:

Find Finance

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce can help you find, compare and apply for all types of business finance, from asset and property through to invoice and unsecured loans.

In collaboration with the Rangewell platform, they have access to thousands of loan products from over 260 lenders.

If you would like to chat with funding specialists about your business finance options, please enquire at:

Inspiring social entrepreneurs in our region

A new scheme launching in November will provide support for individuals looking to start a social enterprise. Workshops, mentoring and online support will be included in the free programme.

Thanks to a significant grant secured from the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) and European Social Fund (ESF), WSX Enterprise will provide and deliver an innovative business start-up support programme to help budding entrepreneurs in the M3 corridor.

The programme focuses on supporting long term unemployed, lone parents, people with disabilities, older workers and people in minority groups into self-employment. There will also be bespoke project activities and support to help young people who are not in education, employment or training.

Inspiring enterprise will centre on introducing people to the world of social enterprise opportunities and provide specific support to those who aspire to start up in this fast growing business sector.

Entry to the programme is completely free of any charge, but is subject to eligibility criteria.

For more details please visit:

Local colleges offer free training courses to help local businesses grow

Five local colleges including Sparsholt College, Basingstoke College of Technology and Farnborough College of Technology will offer three free training courses funded by the European Social Fund for the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Enterprise M3. The focus of the courses are to support the growth of small to medium sized businesses:

  • Skills support for the workforce
  • Skills support for redundancy
  • Information and Guidance (IAG) supporting skills development of the workforce to enable growth of SMEs

Eligible businesses, their employees and individuals who have recently experienced redundancy can benefit from free training, tailored to their specific needs. Participants can select nationally recognised qualifications or a tailored programme directly relevant to the workplace.

Businesses can contact the ESF team for more details by:


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