If you want to start or grow a business, the government's GREAT Business website will direct you to a wide range of support services, from start-up advice, to mentoring, funding, importing and exporting.
The Federation of Small Businesses also offers support and advice for small business owners.
For more specific advice for starting a business in Westminster please read the information below.
Business planning and testing your idea is a critical first step when thinking about starting a business or launching a new product. We recommend the following resources to begin thinking through your idea and testing it:
Co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators a proven method for supporting start-ups to survive and grow. The Council is at the forefront of a London-wide movement to increase the number of these services and make London a world-class environment for start-ups.
Accelerator programmes combine small amounts of investment with intensive mentoring and advice to help your business get the best possible start.
The council has support the establishment of three affordable and highly support spaces for start-ups and micro businesses. These include
View the interactive map of co-working spaces across London
Business finance - GOV.UK offers an explanation of the different forms of finance for business and you can search for finance schemes relevant to your business.
Creative Industry Finance - there is a range of free support for creative businesses and opportunities to access loans of between £5000 and £25000
London Business Angels - LBA connects fast growth technology companies to equity finance through its membership of experienced angel investors. Operating since the early 1980s, LBA has the longest track record in the business, supporting existing investors, would-be investors and entrepreneurs.
Start-Up Loans Fund - A government funded scheme to provide advice, business loans and mentoring to startup businesses.
Innovate UK - If you're looking to develop new projects and services and bring them closer to market, Innovate Uk provides a range of funding programmes and support
London Co-Investment Fund invests in high growth technology, science and digital start-ups in London
Expanding your network and mentoring can be a powerful way to support your business.
Pop-ups and market stalls are a very popular way to trial new retail and food businesses. They can reduce the risk and expense of taking on a long term lease for new business ventures.
There are organisations that can help you find pop-up opportunities in fantastic Westminster locations and that offer pop-up shop insurance for temporary retailers. Others offer services to help connect landlords with short-term tenancy opportunities to people who want to run a pop-up shop.
You can find out more about these organisations by searching online.