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Business support and advice

These organisations offer a range of business support, training and help with setting up your business.

Ask Us business service

Gloucestershire County Council runs the Ask Us business service. They provide free targeted mailing lists to help you with marketing. They can also provide company reports on your behalf from their database Fame. Fame is a comprehensive business database and contains information on both public and private companies across the UK and Ireland.

For more information visit the Ask Us business service webpage.

Business support services

To find government-backed support and finance for business, including: grants; finance and loans; business support eg mentoring, consultancy, an funding for small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups please visit:

Co-operative futures

Free business advice and support service to groups of people wanting to set up a co-operative or other form of social enterprise. For more information:

County Land and business Association (CLA)

Safeguarding the interests of private landowners and rural businesses, the Country Land and Business Association have two main functions; exerting political pressure through authoritative briefing and lobbying of policy members and providing the advice services for their members.

Cotswolds Tourism

Cotswolds Tourism is a partnership of businesses serving the visitor economy sector and local authorities, which aims to: 

  • Lead and co-ordinate marketing of the Cotswolds
  • Represent tourism locally, nationally and internationally  
  • Support local tourism businesses

Energy advice line

The Energy Advice Line offers impartial advice to help Small and Medium Enterprises save money on energy bills.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

The largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms. The Federation of Small Businesses offers its members assistance and support 24 hours a day. Membership fees are £70 per year for a sole trader, then based on a sliding scale according to number of employees.

Fredericks Foundation

Fredericks Foundation was set up in 2001 to help people who aspire to run their own business but are unable to obtain the necessary support to do so. Most of Fredericks Clients choose self-employment as the best (and sometimes the only), route out of benefit-dependency.

As a result of the economic downturn, as well as helping people off benefits, Fredericks Foundation has branched out to assist existing companies in need of finance who are unable to obtain it from their bank.

Gfirst local Enterprise partnership

Gloucestershire has a Local Enterprise Partnership, or LEP, called GFirst, which is a public private partnership which leads on economic development within the County. Gfirst also co-ordinates bidding for Government funding of major projects. In Cotswold District this has included the proposed Applied Digital Skills Centre at Cirencester College, which was awarded £4.48 million in Summer 2020. 

Gloucestershire Enterprise Limited

Gloucestershire Enterprise Limited is the local Enterprise Agency for Gloucestershire and operates on a not-for-profit, social enterprise basis.  

Its purpose is to provide organisations in the county with access to a wide range of services that will meet their needs in the short, medium and longer term, either through direct delivery or via our partners.

Gloucestershire Growth Hub

There is a network of Growth Hubs across the county now, including one in Cirencester which is a partnership with the Royal Agricultural University.

It is the focal point for ambitious businesses which are seeking the relevant information, guidance, support, expertise, finance, knowledge and experience they need to grow. It can help them scale up, boost performance and find new ways of working.

Gloucestershire Skills Portal

The Skills Portal brings together national support, local support and learning opportunities whether you’re out of work, keen to learn new skills or want to start your own business.


Heartflood are specialist advisors who have been commissioned by Cotswold District Council to support the reopening of the town and village centres in Cirencester, Tetbury, Northleach, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, South Cerney, Fairford, Lechlade and Chipping Campden. As independent experts in town and city centres, Heartflood are able to provide advice, information and signposting to a range of small to medium-sized businesses.

See: Heartflood - The support we offer and how to book an appointment


Maybe* is a collaborative social media management platform to help businesses improve their results. Through Maybe* businesses in the District can collaborate and engage with each other's content enabling them to reach more people and amplify their activities across social channels.

Details of the training they offer and how to sign up are available from the Maybe* website.

National Farmers Union (NFU)

An organisation representing farmers and growers in England and Wales. As well as representing its members' interests, the National Farmers Union provides a wide range of services to them including help with legal, planning and taxation matters, marketing and food promotion.

Open to Export

Open to Export is a community driven service for small and medium sized businesses, looking for help and support in exporting from the UK. For more information please visit the:

Princes Trust

The Princes Trust offers help for 14 to30 years olds to build confidence, gain skills and start their own business. For more information:

Start and Grow Enterprise

Start and Grow Enterprise is a project supporting entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in Gloucestershire. The project can support anyone with a business idea, and existing start-ups trading up to 3 years. Start and Grow offers free training, events, networks and resources, plus access to mentoring, co-working space, and the opportunity to apply for funding.

Start and Grow Enterprise is a University of Gloucestershire programme, part-funded by ERDF. We are based at The Growth Hub in Gloucester.

Find out more and sign up at

Follow on social media for the latest start-up news and events @UoGStartandGrow


Call: 01242 715477