The following sites offer general advice and information to businesses, and provide help to prospective UK SMEs on setting up a company. Additional sites that provide information that is useful to small businesses, for example interest rates, postal codes, currency exchange can be found on the Day-to-day Essentials page.

Information on mailing lists and direct marketing can be found on the Direct Marketing page

Starting points & general information

British Chambers of Commerce

Business Essentials on the Web
Set up by the British Library's Business and IP Centre this wiki aims to provide business information aimed at entrepreneurs and SMEs. Topics covered currently include business planning, grants and finance, marketing and PR as well as industry specific pages. Anyone can join the wiki community, edit and add listings; a brave move but I have not yet seen any "vandalism" or spam. If there have been any inappropriate entries then BIPC have been very quick off the mark in removing them. An excellent starting point for relevant information on setting up and running a business, and highly recommended for SMEs and startups.

Scottish Enterprise
General Information on doing business in Scotland, sources of funding and business sectors. The Business Gateway ( provides support and information for start-up and existing business in Scotland.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Help and advice for SMEs in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Invest Northern Ireland
Invest Northern Ireland's role is to grow the economy by helping new and existing businesses to compete internationally, and by attracting new investment to Northern Ireland. It is part of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

NI Business Info - Practical advice for Northern Ireland Business
This site provides information on setting up and running a business in Northern Ireland. There is a very useful directories section, which includes a companies directory searchable by name, location, business type, number of employees and turnover. Alternatively you can browse by industry sector.

Better Business
A a bi-monthly mazine for small and independent business owner-managers, freelancers, consultants and business advisers. Now owned and published by Cobweb

Better Payment Practice Campaign
Advice on credit management and information on relevant legislation. Includes a late payment interest calculator, a guide to getting paid on time, current legislation and examples of credit management letters.

CobWeb Information
A specialist business information and content provider based in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the UK. Cobweb's subscription products are designed for business advisers, trainers and other professional business intermediaries. There is a free weekly current awareness service called Business Advisers' Digest ("BAD News") and EDGE News, a monthly international entrepreneurship news bulletin for practitioners and professionals from around the world. EnterQuest is a free weekly tips and ideas e-bulletin for start ups and small business owners.The same organisation produces and maintains Scavenger, which is aimed directly at small businesses themselves.

Enterprise Quest - Ideas and know-how for small business
Home of a weekly coaching and ideas bulletin called EnterQuest and published by Cobweb Information. Provides tips, ideas and know-how for small business and home business owners.

Federation for Small Business
The Federation of Small Businesses is a UK campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms. Formed in 1974, it now has 200,000 members across 33 regions and 194 branches.

Health for Work Adviceline for Small Business
This is part of part of the UK government's initiative to help people stay in work or return to work more quickly when they develop a health condition or impairment. The free Health for Work Adviceline for Small Business helps small businesses to quickly and effectively address the issue of employee health, minimise the impact of staff illness, and provide essential support to staff with physical or mental health issues. The adviceline provides expert support to help:

  • get an employee back to work after long-term sickness
  • manage the impact on the business when an employee takes time off work through ill health
  • support an employee and benefit from their abilities if they are at work with health issues
  • encourage and support an employee who is off work, yet wants to return and contribute to the business
  • develop a working culture where work-related illness is less likely to occur

SMEs | Business management | Library | ICAEW
The Library and Information Services of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) have pulled together a number of subject guides including one for SMEs. This section information and access to a wide range of online resources, articles, books and links for those running their own business and for ICAEW Chartered Accountants advising small and medium-sized enterprises.

Approximately 640 reports and factsheets to help research a business idea and market, help write a business plan or marketing plan, and start a small business. Scavenger is produced and maintained by Cobweb Information. You can buy factsheets and guides through a pay-as-you-go service and they are delivered electronically in PDF format.

Simply Business Knowledge - Business advice, information and guides for your company, organisation
Simply Business offers a range of insurance services for businesses in the UK. Simply Business Knowledge provides articles, guides and tutorials on issues such as Tax and Finance, Marketing your Business, Staying Legal and Managing your Business.
Offers guides for small businesses. Topics covered include funding, finding premises, employing people, writing business plans.

Telegraph Business Club
The Daily Telegraph Business Club aims to help SMEs through weekly case studies, information, free seminars and membership discounts.


Grants and funding

Business, Voluntary and Community sector grant information for the UK and Ireland
Searchable database of grants and loans available to small businesses, voluntary and community organisations and Irish organisations. Maintained by Idox Information Solutions Ltd. Free but registration required.

Claims to be the most comprehensive database of UK and EU funding, including grants, loans, subsidies and other incentives that are available to UK businesses. Subscription service.

Grants Online
Information on the latest and current calls for proposals from the European Union, UK Government Agencies, the lottery and grant making trusts and foundations. It also offers tailored alerts and a weekly electronic newsletter called Funding Insight. Subscription service.

Provides information on the latest funding schemes to enable UK companies to become more environmentally friendly. The site is updated daily and coves more than 350 funding schemes available from local, regional, national and European sources. The website also includes advice about how any organisation can take simple actions to go green. There is a regular e-newsletter and grant alert service with the latest changes in green funding and policy. Maintained by Idox Information Solutions Ltd. Free but registration required.

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