Organisations to Support Existing Businesses

There are many different business support options available and different routes for you to take, depending on your business type, your growth plans and the support you require.

We work with partners, including the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), to ensure that existing businesses in New Forest can access impartial advice to help them grow and be more resilient.

Details of the main local providers can be found below. If they don't suit your needs or you require very specific support, The Solent LEP Growth Hub has a searchable directory, where you can find a range of other support services and membership organisations. 

As your business grows, you may need to register for VAT and/or consider whether a different legal structure is more suitable. Visit the GOV.UK website for further information on growing your business.

We also publish information on organisations to support new businesses.

Small and medium enterprise support

Free local business support is available via the Solent LEP Growth Hub. The service is available to all New Forest based small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

The service acts as an impartial first point of contact for your business. It will equip you with the tools and techniques to assist you on a range of topics such as business resilience, finance and funding, operations and much more.

The Solent LEP is also currently offering 12 hours of free one-to-one resilience support through the Business Resilience Programme delivered in partnership with BDO LLP.

To speak with a member of the Solent LEP Growth Hub and/or to access the Business Resilience Programme, complete the enquiry form on the Solent LEP website.

Mentoring support

When you run your own business, it's easy to get so close to a project that you find it difficult to take an objective standpoint and identify opportunities to improve performance. A good business mentor can provide a fresh perspective, using their experience to identify problems, inefficiencies and barriers to growth.

Mentor-net offers business support for small businesses by:

  • recruiting experienced business people to act as Volunteer Business Mentors
  • training and supporting them
  • linking them with businesses in need of mentoring support.

Mentor-net is a not-for-profit organisation, and is currently partially funded by Southern Enterprise Alliance. It charges a subsidised fee for using the service and they ensure the chemistry is right between the client and the mentor.

For more information, visit the Mentor-net website.

High growth potential

The Growth Accelerator Programme offered by Solent LEP is an intensive business support package offering 12 hours of expert advice with experienced growth coaches.

Graduation from the programme will result in a detailed growth action plan which might also include an application for funding or finance.

To be eligible for the programme your business must:

  • employ between ten and 250 staff
  • have an annual turnover between £250,000 and £25 million
  • have at least a two-year trading history.

Your business must also demonstrate at least one of the following.

  • Improved business productivity.
  • Develop new products.
  • Develop new markets.
  • Direct creation of private sector jobs.

To access the Growth Accelerator Programme, complete the enquiry form on the Solent LEP website.

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