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How to Start a Business in Essex

Free start-up resources and useful local contacts.

Improve your chances of success!

How to Start a Business in Essex

Starting a business in Essex

If you are thinking about starting a business in Essex or would like to grow your existing business, we would love to help you.

Start Your Own Business in Essex contains resources and the information that will help give your venture the best chance of success. It also highlights organisations who offer friendly advice and the services that you are likely to need as a new startup or local business owner.

Grants | Networking groups | Business advice | Mentoring | Co-working spaces

Starting a business in Essex

Free Startup Resources

Getting it right from the start can help to prevent problems later.

To help you with this we have created a vast selection of resources and they are all completely free!

If you're considering starting a business or already running one in Essex, this section is designed to provide you with valuable information and resources to support your entrepreneurial journey.

Essex, located in the southeastern part of England, offers a vibrant business environment, diverse communities, and a range of opportunities across various industries.

Demographics of Essex

Essex is one of the most populous counties in England, with a thriving population. As of the latest available data, the estimated population of Essex is over 1.8 million residents. The county offers a diverse demographic mix, with urban areas, picturesque countryside, and coastal regions, creating a varied customer base and business prospects.

Major Towns and Cities in Essex
  • Chelmsford: Chelmsford is the county town of Essex, with a population of over 175,000 residents. It is a thriving commercial and administrative center, offering a range of business opportunities across sectors such as technology, finance, professional services, and retail.
  • Colchester: Colchester is an ancient town and the largest settlement in Essex, with a population of over 195,000 residents. It is known for its historical significance and vibrant cultural scene. Colchester provides opportunities in sectors such as education, tourism, creative industries, and advanced manufacturing.
  • Southend-on-Sea: Southend-on-Sea is a popular seaside resort town in Essex, with a population of over 182,000 residents. It attracts tourists with its beaches, amusement parks, and thriving hospitality industry. Southend-on-Sea offers opportunities in tourism, leisure, hospitality, and retail sectors.
Local Authorities in Essex

Understanding the local authorities in Essex is crucial for navigating regulatory requirements and accessing relevant services. Here are some key local authorities in Essex along with their website links:

  • Essex County Council : The official website of Essex County Council provides comprehensive information on local government services, business rates, planning permissions, and economic development initiatives. They offer guidance on starting a business, provide access to grants and funding opportunities, and support business growth in the county.
Business Support Organisations in Essex

Essex is home to several business support organisations dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. Whether you need assistance with funding, mentoring, networking, or general guidance, these organisations can provide valuable resources. Here are a few notable business support organisations in Essex, along with their website links:

  • Essex Chambers of Commerce : The Essex Chambers of Commerce is a membership-based organisation offering a range of services to support businesses. They provide networking opportunities, business advice, access to training programs, and representation on key issues affecting the local business community.
  • Southend Business Partnership : The Southend Business Partnership is dedicated to supporting and promoting local businesses in Southend-on-Sea. They offer networking events, business mentoring, access to funding, and facilitate collaboration between businesses, local authorities, and educational institutions.

We hope this comprehensive guide serves as a valuable resource for starting or running a business in Essex. Exploring the websites of local authorities and business support organisations will provide you with further information, guidance, and assistance. Wishing you every success on your entrepreneurial journey in Essex!

FREE startup workshops

If you are thinking about starting a business, our FREE three-hour ONLINE workshop is definitely for you!

Open to everyone, our sole aim is to increase your chances of success. We do that by explaining:

The reality of running a business; the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them; which legal status is likely to be most suitable; funding, grants and managing your money; business planning and cashflow forecasting; finding and keeping customers.

Free startup guide

Start Your Own Business in 2021

Download the 2024 edition of our Free Start Your Own Business guide

An interactive step-by-step guide which also includes all of the most important subjects covered in an easy-to-read way with links to useful online articles and relevant contacts.

The idea of starting your own business can be incredibly exciting and who can blame you for being tempted?

However, the sad truth is that far too many new enterprises fail in the early stages. Our aim is to make sure that you don’t become one of them.

This guide explains the key start-up subjects in simple English.

There is also plenty of help available in the area and much of it is free - please do make the most of it.

Read more about what our Free guide contains and how you can download it.
Starting a business in Essex

Key Contacts in Essex

'You don't know what you don't know' is a phrase that is so applicable to starting a new business.

Essex is a great place for start-ups but your chances of success are dramatically improved if you make the most of the support that is available locally. Click on logos to visit their websites.

Office Services

The Office HQ
The Office HQ helps small business owners and start ups by carrying out tasks such as administration, marketing and bookkeeping. We are a small team of highly skilled and experienced UK Virtual Assistants who can hit the ground running and will free up your time so that you can concentrate on taking your business to the next level. No task is too big or small, whether its occasional invoicing, daily email management or helping with social media posts.
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Accountancy

McMillan Rose & Co - Chartered Certified Accountants
We are a qualified firm of accountants that are friendly, approachable, will deal with your queries quickly and at a reasonable price. Clients choose our firm over others as this is the level of service they receive. Check out our reviews. Changing Accountants always seems daunting so why not meet us first, without any pressure over a cup of tea or coffee, and then have time to yourself to decide if we are the right firm for you. You need to be able to rely on a firm you can trust and will get the job done within time constraints, thats where McMillan Rose are strongest as a firm of qualified Chartered Certified Accountants. If its advice on tax planning, including H M Revenue and Customs investigations, audit, limited company formation as well as bookkeeping, accounts, landlords rental statements, VAT and payroll services then McMillan Rose can provide those services and more. We have many clients in various different types of sectors, including: * contruction and building * solicitors and barristers * travel agents * technology * haulage * service industry * landlords * and, much more. Through giving the right advice when needed our clients have the confidence to expand their businesses when the time is right for them. Serious about your business? Then telephone us on 01245 326280 for a FREE meeting and parking to discuss how to increase your potential.
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Marketing

Let's Do Marketing
Let’s Do Marketing is a subsidiary of Let’s Do Business Group that is here to help small businesses grow through marketing. Focussed on providing affordable and accessible support to new and small businesses, they offer consultancy and marketing services that can help you to achieve your big marketing ideas. Whether you’re just starting out with a brand new business or looking to grow, we can give you the guidance to create a marketing strategy that matches your goals. Let’s Do Marketing can also provide training to help you take control of your own marketing strategy, from learning new software and tools to creating award winning campaigns! Find out more about our services https://www.letsdomarketing.co.uk/ Want to chat about how Let’s Do Marketing can help you to level up your business? Get in touch at https://www.letsdomarketing.co.uk/contact or email us at hello@letsdomarketing.co.uk!
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Advice

South East Business Hub
The South East Business Hub (SEBH) is here to help your business on the path to growth and prosperity. SEBH can connect you with the services that match your business needs and help you make your mark in Englands most enterprising economy.SEBH is provided by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), the business-led, public/private body established to drive economic growth across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.
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Communications

bubyli Internet Marketing
Affordable Websites We understand and appreciate the costs involved in starting a new business. That's why we spread the cost of your new website over a 12 month period, allowing you time to start generating revenue. The pandemic of 2020 changed the way in which we interact with businesses making a business website one of your most important assets. We can help you get your new business online and in front of your customers.
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Funding

Access business finance up to £150k
Let’s Do Business Finance offers funding to both start-up businesses and businesses wanting to grow and invest in their future. Start up finance We’re one of the official Business Support Partners of the British Business Bank and Start Up Loan Company. We can offer loans from £500 up to £25k with a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum, and that includes 12 months of free mentoring to help you get off to the best start. Could you be eligible? Find out more https://www.letsdobusinessfinance.co.uk/lets-start-up Business loans Let’s Do Business Finance are able to offer business loans to help established businesses to grow. We’re accredited lenders of the Recovery Loan Scheme under the British Business Bank, and we’re able to lend from £25,001 to £150,000 on terms from 3 months to 6 years. This business finance can be used to help you secure anything from new premises, equipment, and capital, and our team can help you to assess your cash flow and finances, build your marketing strategy and more with our built-in business support which is tailored to your needs. Want to learn more about business loans, and see if you’re eligible? Visit our website https://www.letsdobusinessfinance.co.uk/ or send us an enquiry https://www.letsdobusinessfinance.co.uk/contact-us
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Advice

Backing Essex Business
Fully funded by Essex County Council and delivered by business support organisation Let's Do Business Group, Backing Essex Business provides free support to help your business to grow through advice, access to finance and training. What areas of Essex are eligible? - Basildon - Braintree - Brentwood - Castlepoint - Chelmsford - Colchester - Epping Forest - Harlow - Maldon - Rochford - Tendring - Uttlesford Support to meet your business needs If you need help with staffing, strategy or business finance, we can offer up to 12 hours of free support from our expert team. Access business funding for growth We can help you to access vital business funding including business loans and grants to help aid your growth Whatever the challenge, well help you find the solution Our experienced team of business advisors are here to help you overcome any barriers or difficulties your business is facing. Start up support If youve got your business idea but dont know where to take it next, we offer support that can help you learn the skills you need to succeed. How can we help your business to #StartUp? - Access our fully funded start up workshops - A free online session with one of our specialist business advisers - A free online session with one of our finance & funding experts - Free advice on finding premises in East Sussex - Preferential rates for new businesses moving into Ongar Business Centre - Access to business information fact sheets - Support to apply for a Start Up Loan Get in touch https://www.letsdobusinessgroup.co.uk/contact-us or call 0844 415 2272 (Calls cost 5p/min plus your phone company's access charge. If your mobile tariff allows free calls to landlines, you can call 01424 205 500.) Email info@ldbgroup.co.uk
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Property

Ongar Business Centre
Managed by Let's Do Business Group, Ongar Business Centre in Essex offers more than just business space. We're a stimulating, supportive and managed working environment with secure meeting rooms, co-working spaces and offices. In our purpose built business centre, we provide our tenants and their businesses, big or small, with a range of high end facilities, and they can also benefit from our free business support service Backing Essex Business to help them grow. Find out more about Ongar Business Centre and our current available spaces https://www.ongarbusinesscentre.co.uk/ ONGAR BUSINESS CENTRE, THE GABLES, FYFIELD ROAD, ONGAR, ESSEX, CM5 0GA
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Networking

Backing Business Essex Events
As part of our Backing Essex Business support programme, we regularly run both online and in-person events across Essex in partnership with other organisations in the county. From Start Up Business workshops to help you launch with the help of an expert business coach, to learning new skills to grow your business and expanding your network, see what events we have coming up near you! https://backingessexbusiness.co.uk/events
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Funding

IGF Invoice Finance Ltd
The major banks are failing to meet the needs of the SME market. They are inflexible, expect high levels of security for all their lending, and lack any sympathy with, or understanding of, their SME customers. Does your bank spend time listening to your business needs? If your business experienced any financial difficulties, can you rely on their support? Unlike the major banks and major commercial finance providers, IGF is available when you need us. We will ensure we really understand your business and its needs. We will listen and we will care about your goals. We see the relationship as a long term partnership and your success is our success. We value your business; so we do what we promise and wont let you down. We work in a friendly yet highly professional way; championing the needs of the SME. Its why we are so often recommended, not only by our existing clients, but also by accountants and financial consultants throughout the UK. Its why we are challenging the established finance providers and big name institutions; and, its why we are clearly a better finance partner for your business IGF are a leading independent Invoice Finance provider and have been established for over 15 years. The business is part of ABFA (Asset Based Finance Association) and is wholly owned by The Greater London Enterprise (GLE). This solid backing not only gives us a strong pedigree but it means we are ultimately owned by all of the London Boroughs. IGF offer a broad suite of Invoice Finance and related services including Factoring, and Confidential Invoice Discounting along with sundry services such as payroll, direct debit collection, and short term loan facilities.
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Accountancy

FZCO Accountants
FZCO Accountants is a certified accountancy firm that enjoys a worldwide reputation for providing efficient and innovative VAT Registration and VAT Return services. We specialise in global ecommerce cross-border selling taxation, submitting VAT returns and VAT registration in the UK, EU, UAE, UAE and Saudi Arabia. We ensure that accounts, corporation tax, payroll and VAT/GST/ sales tax are prepared according to a timetable. Through our history of supporting ecommerce sellers, we have a strong understanding of the problems global ecommerce sellers face, which is why our professionals are able to guide you through any unforeseen circumstances step by step.
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Advice

Let's Do Business Group
With the ability to help businesses across all sectors, our team can offer business consultancy services to help you achieve your goals. The Let’s Do Business Group can provide virtual business consultancy services through our team of business professionals and quality assured consultants. Whether its developing a business plan or strategy, coaching or mentoring of senior staff and business owners, or just being a sounding board our team are here to help. We offer a free initial consultation so that we understand your needs, and you get to know us. We will then agree how we will work together and our fees – this could be from a one off session, a short support programme or a longer term project. We also have access to a range of other business specialists to help you with anything from Marketing to HR – so whatever your need, we can find a solution. Contact the team today at https://www.letsdobusinessgroup.co.uk/contact-us or email info@ldbgroup.co.uk
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Advice

South East LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership)
The South East LEP is a partnership of leaders - from the business community and from local authorities with their democratic mandates - and will perform a leadership role. This leadership role means acting as strong advocates for the area - working with Government to find solutions to enable delivery of strategic transport infrastructure that will drive national prosperity and economic growth. SELEP will be a strong voice on behalf of businesses and communities and work to ensure that Government and the European Union realise the national and international importance of the South East LEP area in the allocation of scare resources. Advocacy will be supported by project specific economic intelligence which will provide the evidence base for investment.
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Networking

FSB Essex
FSB Essex is the local branch of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). It was formed in 1974 as the National Federation of Self Employed and represents the interests of small and medium-sized businesses locally and nationally. They offer a great package tailored to your needs if you are thinking about starting a business in the area. Contact: Iain Wicks Development Manager Iain.Wicks@fsb.org.uk
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Advice

Essex Chambers of Commerce
Essex Chambers of Commerce is the home of business right across the county helping businesses from SME’s through to national and international companies to succeed. Business Support – whether it is by attending one of our networking events across the county, our business exhibitions, promoting your business through our electronic newsletters, HR support, online health and safety support, we can help support you and your business.
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Advice

BEST For Business Solutions
The BEST website hasa page dedicated to business start-up and those organisations who may be able to help.
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Advice

Starting a Business in Essex
Essex County Council has been offering advice to new businesses for many years. We aim to make the information you require easy to find so you can get on with what really matters: getting started. We can also put you in touch with other people who want to help. The Business Information Service can also provide help in the form of useful, free factsheets. For further information call the Business Information Service on: 01245 492535 or email: business.information@essex.gov.uk
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Advice

Essex libraries
Libraries fit for the future and a fit with people’s lives. A vision of a library service available on-line 24-7 to fit with people’s lives in Essex is to be considered by the County Council. A great place to start your new business market research
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Advice

Essex County Council
Essex County Council operate a number of business programmes and work with partners to deliver expertise and consultation on a number of themes to new and established businesses including: Exporting, Developing innovative business ideas, Finding new premises, Finance and funding, Academic partnerships, Business relocation consulting.Essex County Council is committed to helping Essex-based businesses increase their competitive advantage by providing and working with partners on a range of business development activities from premises for early stage businesses to testing the market.
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Advice

Colchester & Essex Business Agency
The Colchester Business Enterprise Agency (Colbea) is a non-profit making organisation designed to help new businesses get off the ground and small entrepreneurs develop their ideas into successful ventures. Advice is completely free. The Agency is supported by the local councils in Colchester and Tendring, by funding from EEDA (the East of England Development Agency) and by the support of local businesses. Its sole aim is to see the economic prosperity of the region improve through new business development. Colbea offers free confidential business advice from accredited professionals, plus business training that will give you the skills you need to start your business on a firm footing.
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Networking

Essex Business Forum
An independent networking group made up of 30 or so members. From tradesmen, to professional services and everything in between. We actively promote each other by passing regular, high quality referrals and collaborate to grow our businesses.
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Start-up articles

100's of free startup articles

We have created a collection of 100s of startup articles to help anyone with whatever stage they are on with their business journey. Hundreds of thousands of people have gone before you and we can learn from what they got right and avoid the things that have been proved not to work so well.

You can see the full list of 'articles' at: How to start a business