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.

Cancelled event

The workshop scheduled for the 19 May has been postponed. If you were booked on the workshop, Orvia will get in touch with you.

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 Let us help you start your own business [983.6KB].

19 May 2020  - POSTPONED Preston Town Hall9.30am - 3pm
6 October 2020Civic Centre, Leyland9.30am - 3pm
19 January 2021Chorley Town Hall9.30am - 3pm

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

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.
  • Closing date 14 February 2020. Business Start Up Competition for digital and creative sectors run by Chorley Strawberry Fields Digital Hub.  

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. Or contact Gaynor Wood at UCLan (Preston Cooperative Development Network).

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.

There is also a new Business Support Helpline Number  - 0800 998 1098

The Government Business Support helpline provides free, impartial business support and signposting services to businesses in England - which currently includes business advice on Covid-19.

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.


Orvia offers independent help and support to both individuals and new businesses across the whole of Lancashire.

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.

Building Better Opportunities - for over 50s

SELNET 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) 
  • HMRC has tax help and advice for those starting up and small businesses
  • Start Up Guide - you can download a start up guide from the Start Up Loans website and sign up for useful tips.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Start and Grow is an online business resources platform owned and operated by Nwes one of the largest not-for-profit enterprise agencies in the UK.

  • Visit Preston - Invest includes a range of useful information around city development, local investment opportunities and business contacts