Business advice for start ups

ADVICE, GUIDANCE AND FUNDING: SUPPORT FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL BUSINESSES

No matter what your business size – whether you’re a start up or a global enterprise – we cut to the chase, sort the wheat from the chaff and, with minimal marketing jargon, signpost you to the support you need to get your design idea to market.  Quite simply business advice for start ups and all entrepreneurial businesses.

Q. WHERE CAN I ACCESS BUSINESS ADVICE TO SUPPORT MY START UP BUSINESS?

A. Your first port of call should be your local Chamber of Commerce.

Q. WHAT ARE THEY?

A. A Chamber of Commerce is a form of business network which supports a region or joint regions. Each Chamber provides a voice to the business      communities they represent, amplifying their priorities and concerns.

The 52 Accredited Chambers of Commerce in the UK are represented by the British Chamber of Commerce.  The network exists to support and connect companies, bringing together firms to build new relationships, share best practice and foster new opportunities. 

Quite simply Chambers of Commerce provide business advice to improve the local environment in which they operate.

Q. HOW CAN MY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HELP ME?

A. Chambers of Commerce can help businesses through: 

Introductions: from creating the opportunity to meet other businesses at local events to high-level introductions to prospects and industry leaders

International trade: Providing advice, support and export documentation.  They are a Global Business Network linked to British Chambers around the UK and the world

Member benefits include HR support, health insurance and enterprise-level discounts

Events: get involved with business awards, national conferences and professional, informal and local networking opportunities

Influence and representation: from Brexit, skills and infrastructure to local challenges such as digital connectivity, the Chamber network raises local business concerns with all levels of government and in the media 

Business profiling: help with strategic partnerships and sponsorship of major events as well as activities at a more local level.  The Chamber will help raise your business profile with your targeted B2B (business to business) audience

Young Chamber: connects businesses to local education providers. It helps to bridge the gap between education and the workplace.

Q. WHERE CAN I FIND MY LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE?

A. The 52 accredited Chambers of Commerce can be found at https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/page/join-a-chamber

Q. WHAT IS SIMPLE DESIGN WORKS EXPERIENCE OF CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE?

A. We’re members of our local Chamber of Commerce, and we love it. We’ve definitely taken advantage of the free networking breakfasts and lunches on offer so that we meet local, like-minded businesses. We’ve also dived into the Chambers local database and through this we’ve done business with other Chamber members. We’ve also taken informative training courses and had articles published in our local Chamber digital newsletter. We’re major fans.

Q. WHAT IS THE LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP (LEP)? 

A. Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are business-led partnerships between local authorities and local private sector businesses.  The provide business advice to start-ups as well as multi-million pound companies.

Q. HOW CAN MY LEP HELP ME?

A. LEPs play a central role in determining local economic priorities and undertaking activities to drive economic growth and job creation, improve infrastructure and raise workforce skills within the local area. 

Q. WHERE CAN I FIND MY LOCAL LEP?

A. The LEP network can be found at www.lepnetwork.net/about-leps/location-map/  There are currently 38 LEPs.

Q. WHAT ARE ENTERPRISE ZONES?

A. Enterprise Zones aim to support businesses to grow. 

They are designated areas across England which provide tax breaks or business rate discounts. They also have simplified local authority planning, such as granting automatic planning permission for certain industrial or change of use development. 

They have business-ready infrastructures, such as superfast broadband, easy access to transport links and a local labour pool.

Enterprise Zones often have a sector focus, such as manufacturing, engineering, agrifood, construction, healthcare etc.

In short, they are great places to do business for both new and expanding firms. 

Q. WHERE CAN I FIND MY LOCAL ENTERPRISE ZONE?

A. There are 48 enterprise zones and growing!  Find out details at www.enterprisezones.communities.gov.uk/enterprise-zone-finder/

Q. WHAT’S SIMPLE DESIGN WORKS EXPERIENCE OF ENTERPRISE ZONES?

A. We’re proud to say Simple Design Works is situated in the heart of an enterprise zone. And we’re in good company as we have numerous global businesses as neighbours. 

In addition to providing helpful tax relief on our offices and a ready audience of potential clients right outside our door, our enterprise zone has provided a further helping hand for our employees, providing free parking outside the office and great road links to smooth the commute to work.  

The local Growth Hub and Chamber of Commerce office is just two minutes down the road so we have a close working relationship with helpful business advisors. What’s not to like?

Q. YOU JUST MENTIONED GROWTH HUBS, WHAT ARE THEY?

A. Growth Hubs are local public/private sector partnerships led by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPS). They provide business funding, support and guidance.

Q. WHERE CAN I FIND MY LOCAL GROWTH HUB?

A. The network of 38 growth hubs can be found at www.lepnetwork.net/growth-hubs/

Businesses can also call 0300 456 3565 to speak to a business support advisor (9am – 6pm Monday to Friday).

Q. WHAT’S SIMPLE DESIGN WORKS EXPERIENCE OF GROWTH HUBS?

A. Our Growth Hub shares an office with the local Chamber of Commerce and the University of Wolverhampton’s Business Solutions Centre.  Both provides advice and guidance on funding and other business growth support. We’ve popped in to see them on many occasions, to seek advice about funding for our clients and to attend networking and training events. The facilities are fresh and modern, and the staff really friendly and helpful. If we need a quiet space to work, they have pods available to rent. We’re delighted!

Q. WHAT IS THE SMALL BUSINESS CHARTER?

A. They are business schools which hold the Small Business Charter.

Q. WHERE CAN I FIND MY LOCAL SMALL BUSINESS CHARTERED BUSINESS SCHOOL?

A. There are 35 business schools across the UK and Ireland that have been awarded the Small Business Charter in recognition of their ongoing work to support small businesses, local economies and student entrepreneurship. Find them at www.smallbusinesscharter.org/find-business-school/

Q. HOW CAN SMALL BUSINESS CHARTERED BUSINESS SCHOOLS HELP ME?

A. Small Business Chartered Business schools provide advice, events, business tips and support. 

They also have an Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) network, a group of individuals who are affiliated with business schools which have been awarded the Small Business Charter, and who have been an entrepreneur at some point.

EIRs feed their knowledge back into the business schools, who in turn improve systems and processes. The groups also help the business schools raise their profile with government and other policy makers, which in turn, provides additional benefits to the SME’s they support. 

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Registering your grand design

SECURING DESIGN RIGHTS ON YOUR GRAND DESIGN

There’s a lot of advice online about how to protect your registered design, but should you do it yourself or employ a legal specialist? 

We spoke with Barker Brettell, who as one of the largest and most experienced design rights experts in the UK, we feel are well-placed to give you some advice on how to register a great design:

Don’t DIY

No surprise that we would say this but let us explain.  This could be your one and only great idea – do you want someone else to benefit from all that work? There is a time and a place for a talented amateur tackling something new. But this isn’t it.

Do your research, understand what registering a design means but ensure you team up with an experienced patent and trade mark attorney. They can advise on all areas of design protection so that you’re making the right choice in protecting your product but can also prepare representations and file strategies to validity, cancellation and enforcement. 

We’ve found that separating design and protection leads to future risk and it could delay in taking a product to market.  And of course cost you more money in the long run.

Appoint a UK design attorney

Since the Industrial Revolution the UK has had a global reputation for innovation which doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The volume of UK designs filed is on the up so by choosing a UK design attorney to register your design you will be opting for a professional working in a buoyant market.

Choose a firm with an extensive understanding of what is achievable and can deal with all aspects of intellectual property.

Future proof your idea

Where do you want your business to be in five, ten, twenty years’ time?  As your company expands you may need to protect your design in the European or global market. Be honest with yourself – do you have the time (or the inclination) to keep up with legislation worldwide?  It makes sense to share your ambition with your design attorney, and choose one that will ultimately be able to handle an international design portfolio.

What attracted us to Barker Brettell is that outside the UK, they have offices in Germany and Sweden so whatever Brexit brings, they’ll continue to meet EU design needs. They file many international (Hague) designs and were one of the first few firms to file a Hague application designating the UK as soon as it became a contracting state in June 2018.  Barker Bretell was also ranked 11th overall out of all European representatives for filing Registered Community Designs.

Choose a design team with a track record

This isn’t the time to choose a rooky firm. Choose an experienced attorney with a proven track record. The difference in the initial financial outlay will be minimal but it will prove to be an excellent investment in the future protection of your design.

Barker Brettell has represented individual entrepreneurs as well as companies such as Britvic and London Taxi for design filings.  They have abundant experience in filing and obtaining design protection around the world and working out cost-effective filing strategies.

What has made us proud to be working with them is their attention to detail for each client as well as their personality. Your product development journey should be exciting and the people you work with should be equally enthused to be part of this with you.

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