Business news and information

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

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£10 million escalator fund for SMEs in the M3 corridor

More ambitious businesses from across parts of Hampshire and Surrey will be able to access vital funding to help them grow from today, as the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership launches a new £10million Funding Escalator.

For more information, visit the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub website.

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.

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]

Bereavement information and training for your organisation

Cruse Bereavement Care – the leading National charity for bereaved people

Grief impacts on the emotional, physical, spiritual and psychological wellbeing of the person who is bereaved. At any time, one in 10 employees are likely to be affected (McGuinness, 2009), (ACAS 2014)

Cruse has been committed to helping bereaved people understand their loss and cope with their grief for over 50 years. Cruse provide training to organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

For further information or to organise bereavement training for your organisation please visit: or contact Cruse on 0208 939 9542 or email

Business coaching - Life Coach Directory

A business coach could help by offering an external, objective and constructive perspective of your situation. Business is an incredibly diverse subject and as such, different coaches specialise in different subjects. Where one might be an expert in public speaking techniques, another might be more accomplished in strategy and management.

Further information can be found at:

Department for Work and Pensions launch Small Employer Offer to increase Disability Employment

Are you a Small Employer (employing twenty-five employees or less) and not part of a franchise?

The Small Employer Offer (SEO) is a unique package of employment support for both employers and employees, and is a key part of the government’s aim to reduce the Disability Employment Gap.

This voluntary programme aims to increase local job opportunities for Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit claimants who have a Limited Capability for Work, by promoting the employment of disabled people amongst small employers and by encouraging local employers to become Disability Confident. To find out more about what support is available and how to qualify for your small employer payment please contact Janeene Ashcroft-Coe, Small Employer Adviser on JANEENE.ASHCROFT-COE@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK

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

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.

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:

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:

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]

Google Digital Garage

Google has created a free 'digital garage' with useful marketing lessons designed to increase your marketing skill level in this increasingly busy digital world. Modules include analytics, use of search engine and social media.

Visit for more information

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.

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

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

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:

Hampshire Chamber support for International trading and export

With two international trade offices, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce provides, support, advice and training courses to businesses in all areas of international trade development and exporting.

Support includes:

  • export documentation
  • export training
  • two day export starter course
  • one day import procedures course
  • half day INCO terms course
  • one day export documentation course

For more information and other courses visit our website or call 01329 242426.

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.

Informi: talking small business

Informi is full of useful small business information such as starting up, finance, business admin, marketing and legal information.

Innovate UK Launches Open Sector Funding Competition Round 4 for Cutting Edge Innovations

Innovate UK & Prince's Trust Announce Young Innovators' Programme

To apply visit Innovation funding service

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:

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.

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.

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:

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:

Looking for funding? Calling innovators and entrepreneurs to Venturefest South 2019

Venturefest South logo

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is excited to announce its partnership with Venturefest South and is calling for local start-ups to get in touch.

Following incredibly successful showcases in 2017 and 2018, the founding partners of Venturefest South have announced a third showcase event #VFS19, which will take place on 29 March 2019 at the Ageas Bowl in Hedge End, Southampton, Hampshire.

Venturefest South brings together top talent from the region to demonstrate technologies and innovations, allow start-ups to pitch for investment, and match entrepreneurs with the right organisations to take their businesses to the next level.

Are you an innovator with a ground-breaking new business idea? Would you like to gain expertise, promote your business and meet investors? Innovators have the opportunity to get a free innovator exhibitor stand at the innovation showcase.

The Innovation Zone is what it is all about. The freshest and most exciting new innovations, start-ups, disruptors and businesses which together signify the real power of the South's innovation economy.

The event will feature expert speakers, innovation demonstrations, investor pitching sessions, the Young Entrepreneurs’ Zone, informal open mic pitching sessions, as well as workshops and opportunities for networking.

Start-ups in Basingstoke and Deane are invited to contact the Economic Development team on before Wednesday 16 January 2019.

The council has joined the festival steering group as partners alongside local organisations such as IncuHive, Tech Juice, Desklodge and the SETsquared partnership.

Venturefest South is a not-for-profit initiative that has been created and developed by a group of partners within the regional innovation economy including Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Carswell Gould, Solent LEP, Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network, University of Portsmouth, Southampton City Council, Solent University and the University of Southampton.


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.

New business services from the Chamber

Do you have a legal dispute, struggle with an employee or landlord? Maybe you want a second opinion, need a contract template or example policy document? Do not let any issues turn into major problems.

Hampshire Chamber has launched a range of new services to help with

  • Health and Safety
  • Legal matters
  • Human Resources
  • Tax

Access is unlimited, 24/7 (except for Tax/VAT helpline) and free for members. It is suitable for businesses of all sizes, whether you are a start-up, expanding business or large multi-national. These four services are not just crisis management tools they also help you be one step ahead and pre-empt difficult situations.

Contact our free helplines to make the right decision for your business and download relevant documents to save time and money. Advice lines:

  • Human Resources
  • Legal
  • Health and Safety
  • Tax

Website featuring a comprehensive library of employment, legal and health and safety documents.

Find out more visit

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

Protect your business - sign up for new @HCCyberProtect business channel

Hampshire Alerts is a community messaging system which shares the latest crime and safeguarding updates swiftly via email, text message alert, or voice update to maximise accessibility. Sign up @HCCyberProtect to help protect your business go to:

  • Click on Register
  • Input your details and progress through the sign up screens
  • When you get to the section 'Your Community Membership', ensure that you select Crimes Against Business by ticking the box
  • Once you have received the validation email and accepted it, you will start to receive alerts

Cyber Protect talks and presentations are also available for your business.

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

START2ACT Carbon Trust - funded energy efficiency support for young SMEs and start-ups

START2ACT is an energy efficiency support programme for young SMEs and startups, funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme. The programme can help your business to identify and implement low cost energy saving measures, to save money on your energy bills and reduce your environmental impact. START2ACT has also been designed to improve how you manage energy now and in the future, so that you can lay the groundwork for long term sustainable growth.

If you would like to benefit from this free support, please email or visit their website for further information and to register:

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.

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.

Current Guidance for Enterprise Administrators

General Ransomware Protection Advice

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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

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