Find Out About Local Business Schemes
If you would like to do some work with a business and think it might be advantageous to your organisation or project, a much easier way to approach the situation than trying to set up a deal from scratch is to seek out existing business schemes. But where should you start looking? Your local business directory can help you to identify businesses in your area, but how can you find out who's doing what? Fortunately, small business support organisations and your local council are there to help.
Looking for SupportMany people assume that small business support centres are only there for business people, but in order to provide a good service to those customers they also need to build working relationships with a lot of other organisations. If you represent a group which is looking for business support, or even if you're just a private individual with a big idea to push, you can make an appointment at your local centre to seek advice. Make sure you have plenty of information about your project with you, ideally in the form of a dossier you can leave behind. If they think your proposal is sound, the support centre will then present it to businesses which are looking for projects to get involved with, and will contact you when they find what they consider to be potentially successful matches.
Most local business support centres also publish regular newsletters about business activities in the area. You can ask for a subscription to these so that you'll be able to see the feature they carry on new business schemes. You may also be able to advertise in them - in some cases for free - to talk about what you're doing and ask those involved in existing business schemes to get in touch.
Talking to Your CouncillorWhatever the project you're seeking to fund, you can also ask for help and advice from your local councillor. You can look up your local council online or ask at your local library for details of surgery times. Your councillor will be able to advise you on local business schemes and will also, in some cases, be able to make introductions. Through your councillor you will also be able to find out how your local council is working in partnership with businesses in the area, enabling you to tailor your proposals to fit in with existing activities. You may even be able to contribute ideas to the development of new local development initiatives.
Central government can occasionally be a helpful source of information on local initiatives, especially funding. Contact the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform for a list of some of the funding bodies in your area.