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Starting a business

Starting a business

Information and advice about starting up a business, starting a food business, sources of finance, employed or self-employed, tax and IR35, sole trader, partnership or limited company.

First, do some research. You need to know whether you are up to it and can cope with the financial and legal demands. A good starting point are the GOV.UK pages on Setting Up  offering a wide range of practical help for businesses.

There are equivalent websites specifically for:
* Northern Ireland at nibusinessinfo
* Scotland at Scottish Business Gateway
* Wales at Business Wales

Funding and assistance
See our section on Finance and funding (left menu).
Read "Make Business Your Business"
which is a guide written by Lord Young published in May 2012.

Employed or self-employed?
This discussion of sole trader status assumes that you are self-employed both for tax and employment purposes. Although in theory there should be no difference, in practice a person may be treated as employed for tax purposes at employed but employed for employment law purposes.

Tax status: HM Revenue and Customs apply their own indicators to determine whether a worker is employed or self-employed. See: HMRC-employment status

If HMRC consider that a person is employed, they will expect that the employer should treat the worker as an employee and accordingly deduct income tax and national insurance in the normal manner under the PAYE rules.

For more information about starting as a sole trader, see our section on Taxation and visit the Business Link site and the HMRC guidance at self employed

You should also visit the HM Revenue and Customs site and search for "starting a business".

Read up on the subject in the national press business pages. For example:
and in specialist publications such as:

Further reading
Have a look at the Start up Britain website for ideas and sources of finance..

School for Creative Startups is a social enterprise running a one of a kind, year-long programme designed to teach creative people how to actively build successful startups and live from their endeavours.

Consider joining a business forum where a huge range of advice and information can be obtained. For example:

Think about the type of business organisation you should have. Go to:
Business organisations on this website.

Catering businesses
The Nationwide Caterers Association has useful information on the "due dilgence" defence in relation to a food law prosecution. It also has a series of guides for those considering to start up a catering business, such as ' Starting Up a Catering Trailer Business', 'Starting Up a Takeaway Business', ' Starting Up a Pub / Wine Bar ' and others.

News items:
03/01/2013: Start-Up Loans get GBP 30 million funding increase
The Prime Minister David Cameron has announced an increase in the funding of the Start-Up loans scheme by GBP 30 million to 10 million over three years. In addition, due to demand from those who had just missed out on the scheme, the age limit for applying will be extended from 24 to 30 years old.
The Government states that over 3,000 people have applied or registered an interest in a Start-Up loan, and in the three months that the scheme has been live over £1.5 million worth of loans have been approved, helping over 460 new businesses get off the ground.
The Start-Up Loans scheme forms an integral part of the Business in You campaign, which encourages the start up and growth of new businesses.

12/07/2012: Ready for Business programme launched. Source: National Enterprise Network:
National Enterprise Network has announced its involvement in a new business start up programme that is claimed will create 6,000 new businesses and up to 10,000 jobs across the country. The Ready for Business programme has been launched following a £15 million investment from the Regional Growth Fund and will be managed in the West Midlands and Yorkshire & Humber regions by National Enterprise Network, delivered by network members based in each of the regions. National Enterprise Network and its West Midlands and Yorkshire & Humber partners will be working alongside other enterprise support organisations across the country and Barclays Bank, who have invested a further £1 million.
The national programme will specifically target the transfer of public sector employment to the private sector. It will offer a package of support to help the transition from employment to business start up, including one to one advice, mentoring, access to finance support and business planning.
Interested parties can visit the national programme website for further information on the programme and to find out how to apply or can contact National Enterprise Network directly for specific details as to events running in the West Midlands or Yorkshire & Humber areas. There are strict entry criteria for access to this programme

[Page updated: 09/01/2013]

For information
on different types of businesses read our page on
Business Organisations