The best business start-up advice in the North East of England

When I first started out as a new business owner, trying to get the information about what help was out there was hard, and this left me feeling more than a bit frustrated.

Which I why I decided to pull together websites of the best organisations that are out there to help you.

Because you don’t have to feel you’re in this business start-up adventure by yourself, or that you have to fork out thousands of pound either to help you get your new business off the ground.

There are several ways you can get the help you need without paying a penny or you may have the opportunity to pay some of the cost with some funding schemes that are available for North East businesses.

I’ve included in the list National organisations you can contact as well as those in the North East covering Newcastle, Sunderland, Northumberland, Durham, Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Redcar & Cleveland

Let’s get started.

When you contact an organisation that offers training and support, they’ll want to know about you and your business. This is to make sure they can give you what you need, but also to help them put you in touch with other useful organisations.

The trick is to get chatting to as many organisations as you can and get the help that’s right for you.

The following organisations offer free support, training and mentoring for new businesses and can support you if you have an idea for a new business too.


The Business Factory


The Business Factory based in North Tyneside and can provide:


  • Free advice with a start-up business advisor to help you take the first steps with self-employment
  • One-to-one or group mentoring and coaching to explore your self-employment options
  • Workshops
  • Events

On business topics such as:

  • Creating a Marketing Plan for your Business
  • Introduction to e-Commerce
  • Understanding Social Media Insights and Analytics
  • Public Relations for Small Businesses
  • Using Facebook for Your Business
  • Using Twitter for Your Business



At the North BIC you can get:

Free one-to-one free business advice for start-ups on:


  • Business Planning
  • Market Research
  • Funding and start up loans
  • Setting up in business and legal requirements
  • Registering as self-employed
  • Tax, VAT and keeping records
  • New Enterprise Allowance



PNE Enterprise

PNE Enterprise can help you bring your business ideas to life, give you support to get started and help you when you’re ready to grow your business.


They offer free courses and currently have a fully-funded 3-day residential course if you’re self-employed or employed, over 19 years old and live in, work in, or are seeking work in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear or County Durham.

What you’ll learn on the course:

Digital Promotion for Business

  • Understanding Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for Business
  • Coordinating the Use of Digital Media for Business
  • Coordinating Offline and Digital Media for Business
  • Emergent Digital Techniques for Business
  • Producing Digital Promotional Content for Business
  • Measuring the Effectiveness of Digital Promotional Activity for Business
  • Understanding Social Media

Business development skills

  • Exploring Enterprise Skills
  • Tender Writing, Developing a PQQ and Identifying Routes to
    Tender for a Business
  • Introduction to the Business Chassis
  • Introduction to Sales Pitches
  • Plan and Carry Out an Enterprise Project
  • Evaluate Enterprise Project and Skills

You can also get 1:1 support and chat to them using their online chat service.



EDBS offer support and advice to anyone looking to set up a business in the East Durham area and is free of charge.


They help you to:

  • Write your business plan
  • Register your business name
  • Register as self-employed
  • Plan your cash-flow and forecasting
  • Create your pricing structure
  • Market and advertise your business

And offer 1:1 support, workshops and downloadable templates for business and marketing plans and income and expenditure.


North East Enterprise Agency Limited

I’ll be honest, their website doesn’t give much details. Basically it’s a page with zero information on it, but their Twitter account is fab. They share lots of useful information for new business owners and keep you up to date with what free courses and trainings are available.

Here’s the link to their Twitter account


NEEAL Twitter


I’m looking for funding or partially funded help. What options do I have?



The NBSL offer partial funding for businesses in Durham, Northumberland, Tees Valley and Tyne and Wear.


Perhaps you’ve got a big expense from marketing and web design to financial or human resources planning and you can’t afford to pay the full cost.


In the Durham area you can apply for:

Up to 40% funding for business improvement projects costing between £2,500 and £8,000 (maximum grant of £3,200)

They also have available a 2 day fully-funded business Masterclass covering:

  • How to grow your Social Media presence
  • How to develop a better Marketing Strategy
  • The best Business Growth Planning strategies

In Northumberland   you can apply for:

Up to 35% funding for business improvement projects that cost between £3,000 and £8,000 (maximum grant of £2,800) – you can use the grant for almost any type of business support that will help your business to grow – from marketing and web design to financial or human resources planning.


You can also access the 2 day fully-funded business Masterclass covering:

How to grow your Social Media presence
• How to develop a better Marketing Strategy
• The best Business Growth Planning strategies

In Tees Valley funding is available for:


  • Up to 40% funding towards Projects costing between £2,500 and £5,000.

Coaching or mentoring relating to any business discipline that will improve the capability and/or capacity of leaders and / or managers is available.

Some examples of businesses that have benefitted have used the funding to improve their online presence so their website can be found more easily. This involved developing their website and improving search engine optimisation (SEO).

A catering butcher and wholesale food company launched its fresh meat delivery website.

Read more here:

Case Study 1

Case Study 2

In Tyne and Wear funding is available for:


  • Up to 35% funding for business improvement projects the cost between £3,000 and £8,000 (maximum grant of £2,800) – you can use the grant for almost any type of business support that will help your business to grow – from marketing and web design to financial or human resources planning.

You can also access the 2 day fully-funded business Masterclass covering

•    How to grow your Social Media presence

•    How to develop a better Marketing Strategy

•     The best Business Growth Planning strategies


Are there any social media accounts that are worth following for a business start-up in the North East?

I checked out Twitter and the following accounts are worth checking out.



They’ll help you out with your general enquiries – remember no personal details though.


I hope you’ve found this useful and it’s helped to point you in the direction of getting support. 

  • There is help out there for you – be sure to make the most of it.
  • There’s more to you being great at what you do – you need to learn the whole running a business stuff too.
  • As a business owner you’ll never stop learning


More Related Content

Can I get a mentor help me?

You can learn from someone who’s been where you are, started their own business and been through it all and come out the other end.

Having a mentor is a great way to get free support and help when you’re starting out.

Where can I find a business mentor?

Mentors Me helps you find a mentor where you are in the UK and for what stage you are at with your business.


Mentors Me

I’ve heard Banks offer free support, training and mentoring. Is this true?

Banks do provide you with help, but be mindful that they can also be eager to sell you their banking products too. However, I’ve had good feedback from clients about the training and support provided by Natwest Bank through their partnership with Spark initiative


Natwest Business Support

Is there any specific free support, training and mentoring for the 18 – 30 year olds?

The Prince’s Trust offer a free online training course so if you’re aged 18 to 30 and have a business idea you want to get off the ground their online course has videos, articles and interactive content that will help you develop the skills you need. They also have dedicated mentors to help you .


Starting a business on your own needn’t be daunting or scary. There’s lots of organisations and people out there to help you.

Got a question? Pop it in the comments below and I’ll do my very best to answer it for you.



Have we met on social media yet? If not, pop over to LinkedIn  and say hello. Feel free to email me with any questions.


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