Starting your own business or working for yourself requires careful planning, research and preparation.

Whether you have a clear vision or you are not sure where to start, this page details where you can find help and support to turn your idea into a business.

Free Start Up Workshops

Get help to start up and succeed in business with free start up workshops brought to you by Preston City Council, South Ribble and Chorley Councils. For more details download Icon for pdf Starting your own business workshops [1.27MB].

  • 14 January 2020 Chorley

What will the workshops help me with?

  • Marketing, Competitors, Research
  • How to write a good business plan
  • Managing cash flow
  • Overview of taxation and VAT issues
  • Networking with other new business start ups
  • Find out about Government-backed Start Up Loans 

Book your place

Booking is essential for these workshops.

To book your place please email: Linda at Orvia on or telephone 01772 429290.

Starting Up

Hyndburn Enterprise Trust offers one-to-one impartial business advice free of charge to anyone thinking of starting a business in Lancashire. They can help new and established small to medium businesses and can provide Start Up Loans. They are also business advisers for the Government's Start and Grow programme which has a small administration fee.

For more details contact or call 01254 600625.

Funding for Start Ups

  • Start Up Loans - If you are aged over 18 with a viable business plan, you could apply for a government-backed Start Up Loan. The amount you can borrow will be based on your business plan. Please contact Lancashire Community Finance for more information, who also provide advice and mentoring.
  • Virgin Start Up is also a delivery partner for the Start Up Loans and its website has advice and offers for start up businesses.
  • Enterprise Allowance is for those claiming Jobseekers' Allowance (JSA) and looking to establish a new business. Contact your local JCP office for details.

See our Business Finance and Grants section for more information on some of the funding available for all businesses.


If you are interested in setting up a co-operative, or want more information, events and networks, we have a dedicated co-operatives section on our website.

Starting a food business

If you're thinking of starting a food business find out what you need to know, plus the food hygiene and safety legislation requirements you must meet from the beginning by seeing starting a food business.

Find Workspace

You can search for offices in Preston from our business property section using our free search.

Many premises offer special services for start up companies such as rent-a-desk, incubation support, co-working and virtual offices.

In Preston some of these are: 

Useful support

Business is Great

The government's website Business is Great has a dedicated section on starting up to guide you through each step.

You can also get support and advice over the phone by calling the Business Support Helpline on 0300 456 3565 or by talking to an advisor online.

Boost - Lancashire's Growth Hub

Boost provides access to a range of funded programmes including the Growth Support Programme from Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all which offers practical advice, support and coaching for owners of high-growth start-ups and early-start businesses.

Email  or call 0800 488 0057 for more details.

Prince's Trust  Enterprise Programme

If you are aged between 18 and 30 and unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours per week you could get help to start up in business from the Prince's Trust Enterprise Programme.

Groundwork - for over 50s

Groundwork will help you with advice and support to set up your business through the Building Better Opportunities: Age of Opportunity programme for those aged over 50. 

For more information contact

SELNET - for social enterprises

SELNET offers specialist business advice for social enterprises including starting a business. 

Email or tel 01772 200690.

Visit Preston - Business Blog

Written by local businesses, Visit Preston's Business Blog is a great way of getting inside tips and advice from established businesses across Preston. It is also useful for keeping up to date with local business news.

More useful links

  • Ask About Business is an information service available through Libraries in Lancashire. You can also access business advice and information through COBRA  (Complete Business Reference Adviser) 
  • Thomson Local has put together some simple guides on a series of business topics including a General Guide to Starting a Business.
  • HMRC has tax help and advice for those starting up and small businesses
  • StartUp Britain is a series of web based resources to help businesses to start and grow including a range of offers from corporate sponsors, events and news.
  • Start Up Donut is an online guide to starting a business from Google and Sage with free advice, tools and resources.
  • Entrepreneur Handbook is a website providing advice and guides for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Some of their most popular resources include lists of small business grants, venture capital funds and business competitions.
  • Bytestart online information for start ups and small businesses including a 22-part business start-up guide.
  • The Business Clinic is a Preston-based community interest company (not for profit) run by local businesses for local businesses offering support, events and business surgeries.
  • Business Lancashire is a business news site from the Chamber of Commerce and Blog Preston including start up advice and business support. You can also promote your own business or find out about other businesses in Lancashire. 
  • Enterprise Lancashire independent help and support to both individuals and new businesses across the whole of Lancashire.
  • Visit Preston - Invest includes a range of useful information around city development, local investment opportunities and business contacts