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Council initiatives and events to support local businesses

Our economic development service, initiates or works with partners to deliver initiatives in support of local businesses and the local economy.

Current initiatives are listed here and provide information and links to see how your business can benefit.

New initiatives and opportunities to work with the council and its partners will be publicised in our business support enews letter. You can sign up to receive it at  Sign up to the Business Support eNewsletter

On this page:

The New Forest Business Boost Programme

The New Forest 'Businesses Boost' Programme was supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within a collaborative project between Isle of Wight Council (The Lead Partner) and New Forest District Council called 'Rural Productivity Hubs and Spokes'.  

New Forest 'Business Boost' was aimed at improving the productivity of businesses through a programme of short courses and mentoring support. 

There was no cost to participating businesses, except a commitment to attend 12 hours of workshop and mentoring sessions, over the two months of the selected cohort.  

The New Forest 'Businesses Boost' Programme has now ended. For updates on other business support initiatives from us and from partners, please sign-up to our business enews..

The New Forest Shop Doctor Programme 2023

The New Forest Shop Doctor programme aims to improve the customer experience in identified town centres throughout the New Forest through a series of Shop Doctor (Mystery Shopper) visits. 

The programme prioritises local independent retail and hospitality businesses enabling those participating to identify individual areas of strength and weakness, resulting in a higher quality standard of retail and hospitality provision. This in turn will boost confidence and provide a source of publicity. 

The 2023 programme ran from January to June 2023 and was available to independent retail and hospitality businesses in Hythe, Lyndhurst, New Milton, and Barton, as well as Milford on Sea and Brockenhurst.  

The New Forest Shop Doctor 2023 has now ended. For updates on future programmes, please sign-up to our business enews..

Start-up business support 2023

Our start-up business support scheme ran from January to June 2023 and was delivered by small business support experts IncuHive.  

The scheme provided over 50 New Forest entrepreneurs with one-to-one mentoring support from local business experts IncuHive. 

It also ran a 'Bee's Nest,' event on Thursday, June 8, at the Lyndhurst Community Centre.

The event, organised by IncuHive in partnership with New Forest District Council, provided an exciting platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses and compete for prizes in front of a panel of established local entrepreneurs and audience of businesses. 

The start-up support scheme has now ended.

For updates on future programmes, please please sign-up to our business enews..

Film:New Forest

A million possibilities; one unique place. The New Forest is a beautiful part of the country and is well known as a popular tourism destination, but the area is not in fact new, isn't all forest, and many will be surprised at the variety of filming possibilities and locations available here.

The district is famed for its untouched woodland and far-reaching heathland, but alongside this is settings of vast coastline, historic buildings, flowing rivers, picturesque roads, industrial sites, bygone villages, free-roaming animals, and much more.

In addition to the primary aim of encouraging spend on local goods and services this project, developed by us and our partners, seeks to deliver the following benefits:

  • opportunities for owners of local premises to offer their facilities for filming locations
  • a network of businesses within this sector to share best practice and opportunities
  • engagement with local students to provide career opportunities and improve skills
  • development of best practice to ensure that filming which takes place does not negatively impact the natural landscape

For further details, see our dedicated Film: New Forest project website.

Broadband Infrastructure

We are supporting The Hampshire Superfast Broadband Programme, managed by Hampshire County Council. 

Project Gigabit is the government programme to deliver gigabit capable broadband across the UK by 2030.

The latest documents set out a proposed procurement pipeline for Phases 1 and 2 with modelled premises numbers, multi-million-pound investments and target timelines to reach communities from Northumberland to Cornwall that would otherwise be left behind. 

Hampshire is in Phase 1B of the procurement timeline with procurement documents expected to be issued at the end of April 2022. 

More information can be found on the Hampshire Superfast Broadband website.  

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