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How to Start a Business in Southampton

Free start-up resources and useful local contacts.

Welcome

How to Start a Business in Southampton

Starting a business in Southampton

If you are thinking about starting a business in Southampton or would like to grow your existing business, you have come to the right place!

Start Your Own Business in Southampton contains resources and the information that will help give your venture the best chance of success. It also highlights organisations who offer friendly business advice and services that you need.

We have been helping start-ups and existing business owners in Southampton since 2005 and a list of key local contacts can be found below.

Starting a business in Southampton

There is plenty of help locally but where can it be found? We would love to point you in the right direction.

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in Southampton

Free Startup Guide

Start & Grow Your Business In Southampton
Download the 2022 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.

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 Southampton

Southampton Business

Southampton city centre
Southampton is a fantastic place to set up and run a business... as long as it is the right business!

This website was born in Southampton over 15 years ago! Not only that, we have been working with local start-ups for almost two decades now – our first newspaper was called ‘Start Your Own Business in Hampshire’ and was sponsored by Business Link Wessex when they were the leading business support organisation in the area. As a result, we do think that we are perfectly placed to point you in the right direction!

Hopefully, you will be pleased to hear that the area has a good track record when it comes to start-up survival and up to 10,000 new businesses are formed each year in the SO postcode area alone. If you are planning to join them, can we humbly suggest that you make the most of the advice and guidance that is available and immerse yourself in the local business community.

Within the city itself there is a thriving business community and plenty of business support, much of which is free.

About Southampton

As well as being located in the relatively affluent south east, Southampton has excellent communication links via train, plane, boat and road. The motorway links provided by the M27 and the M3 give easy access to Bournemouth Portsmouth and London is a little over an hour away.

Local authority

Southampton City Council are extremely keen to support local businesses and their Economic Development department have funded start-up courses, business support and own Solent Business Centre, which is perfect for new businesses who do not want to be tied to long term leases. They have also funded The Network Eagle Lab which forms part of the Marlands Development. You may also like to have a look at Invest in Southampton

Business networking

If you want to meet other business owners, there is a healthy selection of networking groups. The Hampshire Chamber of Commerce has a strong presence and has special packages for small businesses and new starts. National organisations such as 4Networking and BNI have local groups and these are complemented by local groups such as Solent Networking and Poddi.

Key Southampton Contacts

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

Southampton 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.

Advice

Solent Growth Hub
The Solent Growth Hub offers businesses in the Solent LEP area simplified access to a range of information, advice and support services provided nationally and locally. Helping individuals, organisations and businesses - from start-ups to established operations to find funding, support initiatives and services that can best help them achieve their growth potential.
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Co-Working

Ocean Village Innovation Centre
We have a range of fully-serviced private offices and shared spaces in Ocean Village Innovation Centre, suitable for SME's and fast growing businesses. Whether you require a virtual package or 24-hour office space, we can help find the right solution to suit your businesses. And the best bit? You will be amongst our community of entrepreneurs, with regular events, workshops and networking opportunities to get involved in. Ocean Village Innovation Centre, Ocean Way, Southampton, Hampshire, S014 3JZ
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Accountancy

Oaktree Accountants Limited
Oaktree Accountants Ltd are a thriving local firm catering to the accountancy, taxation, payroll and advisory needs for businesses and individuals across Hampshire and the surrounding counties. With our excellent eye for detail, you can spend more time doing what you do best, run your business. Founded in 2003, Oaktree was built by our directors Sarah Robinson and Lucy Macginnis, who envisioned accounting without the jargon. They pictured a fresh, friendly and informal approach to accountancy which, in 2019, continues to put our clients at ease. We boast a diverse clientele of all shapes, sizes and industries, from young families to retired couples, from start-ups and sole traders through to partnerships and well-established limited companies. We pride ourselves on ensuring every client receives the upmost trust-worthy and professional advice tailored to their individual needs and their developing business goals. Working closely with the directors, our team strive to empower our clients and strengthen their confidence in running their business. We are committed to looking beyond the numbers so we can find them the best possible opportunities and give specialised business advice based on their accounts and projections. With our clients at the forefront of what we do, client satisfaction is integral to our work. Oaktree Accountants Ltd offer a friendly and welcoming service combined with a wealth of experience and extensive skillset to offer not just accountancy but advisory services. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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Property

New Forest Enterprise Centre - Business Units
No delay - move in today. Whether you choose a workshop, an office, or both, you can move in striaght away. No legal costs, no long term commitment. The Centre is designed specifically for new and small businesses, comprising 36 offices and 35 light industrialworkshop self-contained units. We have constantly upgraded our facilities to ensure our Licensees enjoy a safe environment in a well maintained building. Being surrounded by woodland makes the location very attractive, though there is plenty of free parking. We work hard at keeping the site looking good, mindful that our image and our Licensees’ are one and the same. We believe that setting high standards benefits everyone, and we’re encouraged that our Licensees go out of their way to help us achieve that. Each unit is equipped with services to allow you to start work immediately. Fast, fibre-optic broadband is available. Access is 24 x 7 x 365. Most units have a water supply, and drainage. Energy is supplied by the Centre, and invoiced monthly. Our website has details of availability and prices, but if you’d like to discuss your needs do call us on 02380 667700.
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Advice

Inspiring Enterprise
Inspiring Enterprise helps unemployed people and graduates in North Hampshire and South West Surrey develop the skills and confidence they need to build their own business or social enterprise. We understand that starting a business or community enterprise isn’t for everyone. But we also know there are people out there who just need a chance and have what it takes to make a success of their own life or change the lives of those around them. Being a socially funded project, we are required to have a few criteria for the people and projects that can receive our support.
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Property

The Incuhive Space
IncuHive Spaces are the place to be for start-up and small businesses. We offer an everything under one roof approach, virtual offices and desk space rental to private offices, photo studios, in house accountants to web developers and legal experts! Join a like minded supportive community of business people! IncuHive Spaces offer business incubation and co-working centres with a creative twist, providing mentoring, investment, office space, networking and a whole host more. IncuHive Spaces are open to an unrestrained demographic, IncuHive seeks to launch the next generation of businesses across all spectrums and backgrounds. College leavers, University students and graduates or those already in the workplace looking for a change of direction; IncuHive is open to everyone. IncuHive provides a range of services to help kick start a business into profitability, from basic one to one mentoring to complete investment acceleration programs. Alongside, the start-ups can take advantage of our in-house accounting, payroll, legal, web development and much more at affordable prices exclusive to IncuHive clients. IncuHive is a business incubator at heart, although we provide a range of affordable offices space for rental to anyone interested. This said, our aim is not to fill rooms with clients, but to create a diverse and innovative business community. This is the real benefit from working in IncuHive; the buzz and excitement of the people around you. As is often said, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and we have the mix of people who will really help launch and push your business to the next level. We look forward to welcoming you to a space near you! Chandler's Ford Unit 7, Mayflower Close, Chandler's Ford Industrial Estate, SO53 4AR Southampton IncuHive Space, 182 High Street, Southampton, SO14 2BY Winchester Westgate Chambers, Staple Gardens, Winchester, SO23 8SR Basingstoke 8 Church Street, Basingstoke, RG21 7QE New Milton IncuHive - 31-33 Compton Road, New Milton BH25 6EQ
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Networking

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce
Hampshire Chamber is a business support organisation. We assist businesses raise their profile, get connected to new customers and contacts, keep them up to date with relevant business information and are a voice for the business community at local and national Government level. We organise over 100 events ranging from speed networking, breakfast briefings on economic issues, behind the scenes visits, and workshops that enhance your skills. Call us for chat or have a look at our website.
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Advice

Enterprise South
Starting up your own business? Would you like some free support? Since 1981 Enterprise South (previoiusly Enterprise First) has been helping people start their own companies and develop their existing businesses. As a not for profit company with sponsorship from the public and private sectors we can offer free support and funding guidance. Free, confidential, and independent advice is provided from our team of experienced accredited business advisers. Contact us on 0845 458 7535 or e-mail us (info@enterprisesouth.co.uk) if you would like to discuss your idea with one of our advisers. This is completely free of charge and without any obligation. Funding Enterprise South are the Virgin StartUp loan delivery partner for the South East. If you are looking for finance to start your business please do get in touch.
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Online Marketing

Digital House Marketing & Design Agency
A House Full Of Digital Marketing Experts…. Here at Digital House, we all love digital marketing! We’re passionate about doing it better than anyone else. With Digital House you don’t just get a design agency, you get a whole team of digital experts supporting the growth of your business in the right direction. We understand your business with a passion. Our team are dedicated to our promise of delivering an increase of enquiries and to building your business to the next level. The combination of our expertise and the way we work is what sets us apart from others. We’re refreshingly honest and our customers stay with us because they want to – we have no tie-in clauses. Based in Tadley near Basingstoke, covering North Hampshire. Free Digital Insight Workshop Free digital insight workshop to get more from digital marketing. We take the mist away from what is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), AdWords, Social Media, E-Newsletters, Google Maps and Google My Business, giving you plenty of tips on how to make digital marketing work for you. Venue: Our offices at Heath End House, Tadley, RG26 3SD
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Directory

Basingstoke MOT & Servicing Centre
The Basingstoke MOT and Servicing Centre is an Authorised Testing Facility providing a full range of services to cover your vehicle needs including servicing and repairs.
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Co-Working

Network Eagle Lab
Barclays has partnered with Southampton City Council to create Network Eagle Lab and support entrepreneurs and businesses within Southampton. With cutting edge facilities, including a photographic studio and maker space, Network will support creative, digital and knowledge-based start-ups and scale-ups by delivering the city’s first collaborative, co-working environment. External Entrance for Network Eagle Lab on Portland Terrace (street level entrance opposite Old Mutual Wealth), Southampton, SO14 7SJ
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Design

The Art of Communication
Today we live in a brand conscious world and it is more important than ever to make a good and lasting impression. We all make split second assumptions based on conditioned perceptions and these influence how we see things and respond to them, often on a subconscious level. Your business gets just one chance to create a first impression and of course you want it to be a good one. If your logo looks amateurish or your branding confused why would a potential customer assume that you run your business any differently? First impressions count and affect the response of your potential customers. Branding is all about influencing choice! I work to create a brand with the right visual representation of your vision and who you are as a company and with the brand applications very much taken into account so that your logo will work across all mediums. I work with two main clients — SME businesses that need a brand strategy, rebrand or refresh, and start-up businesses.
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Law

Insight legal
With a commitment to delivering a first class level of customer service at the forefront of everything they do, Insight Legal provide high quality software to legal firms of all sizes. Used by professionals throughout the country, the software makes a genuine difference to a solicitors working life, streamlining processes and cutting down on costs. Find out more here.
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Online Marketing

Small goes Big
Small goes Big provides digital marketing solutions for smaller tech-led businesses with big ambitions. I’m Kat Hounsell, digital marketing consultant and the face behind Small goes Big. I’m a firm believer in ‘people buy from people’. Yes, even in the wonderful world of B2B. If you have amazing products and services but need some help getting others to be as passionate about them as you are, I’m here to help. I inject the human element into your marketing strategy and engage your customers in conversations that build valuable relationships. And, get you those all-important sales.
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Advice

Southampton Solent University
Solent University operate Enterprise programmes to support students and recent graduates who are keen to explore the possibility of starting a business. This can include training, guest speakers, business games, mentoring and funding.
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Advice

University of Southampton
Southampton University operate an incubator to assist new businesses who plan to offer an innovative product or service. The Southampton SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre is located at the University of Southampton Science Park in Chilworth and are happy to help high-tech, high-growth businesses get off the ground.
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Advice

West Itchen Community Trust
West Itchen Community Trust supports residents and businesses located in the sO14 postcode area. It is a social enterprise and is keen to hel;p regenerate the local economy. Oneway that his is achieved is by offering a free business support service called SO14 Enterprise Service. If you live in the area or are thinking about starting a new business in SO14, you can take advantage of one-to-one business coaching, free workshops and access to finance.
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Property

Solent Business Centre
Centrally located near Southampton City Centre and with easy access to the M27 motorway, our Solent Business Centre is ideal for growing and established businesses. with managed office space, workshop and storage facilities all available. With 92 units in total, over 6 floors, the centre is a hub for small, medium and large businesses. Business Support and Advice is always on hand, and throughout all of our 4 linked centres we encourage our tenants to network and connect for even more business opportunities. Solent Business Centre also has the benefit of free, onsite car parking; reception services; conference and training space; Internet access and an onsite cafe. Open 24 hours, 7 days a week, Solent Business Centre is the ideal city base for your growing business, so call or email us to discuss your business today. Solent Business Centre offers office space or workshop rental from as little as £148 per month (excluding VAT). Licence fees are inclusive of: - The Central Reception - Rates (Non-domestic, Water & Sewerage) - Buildings Insurance, External Repairs & Maintenance - Cleaning & Maintenance of the Common Areas - Waste Disposal FLEXIBLE OFFICE SPACE WITH ADVICE & SUPPORT FOR YOUR BUSINESS
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Web design

Big Rocket
Big Rocket is a leading Web Design & Branding Agency that takes businesses to infinity and beyond. With over 10 years of experience, we are experts in taking brands to a happier, more profitable place. Big Rocket are experts in Web Design & Development, SEO, Digital Marketing E-Commerce and Branding.
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Co-Working

The IncuHive Space Southampton
IncuHive Southampton offers co-working and business incubation services just off the high street in the centre of Southampton! The site provides all the normal IncuHive services across 2 floors directly opposite the Bargate in a convenient place to drop in while in town. IncuHive Southampton also provide a range of mentoring and business support services to help you kick start your new business! The IncuHive Space, 182 High Street, Southampton SO14 2BY
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IT

Gareth Evans IT Consultancy
IT consultancy, systems development, training and support
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Online Marketing

FIMA Digital
FIMA Digital was established in 2013, and since then has grown into becoming a reputable SEO company in Southampton, with clients all around the UK and globally. The company is committed to helping start up businesses in making more from digital marketing with in-house SEO training offered, as well as bespoke online marketing strategies designed to generate more business via the web. The company specialises in online lead generation, PPC (Google Adwords), and search engine optimisation (SEO services).
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Advice

Solent LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership)
The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (Solent LEP) is led by the business community and supported by four university partners, the further education sector, three unitary authorities, eight district councils, one county council and the voluntary and community sector, all of whom are actively working together to secure a more prosperous and sustainable future for the Solent area.
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Directories

Hampshire County Council
Visit the business section of the Hampshire County Council website to find local support, Hampshire business directory, Hampshire Ambassadors, support for rural businesses, economic facts & figures, Invest in Hampshire, find a business premises. The Castle, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8UJ
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Property

University of Southampton Science Park
Office space, lab space, business incubator and commercial property development sites in a landscaped science park, 1 hour from London. Southampton Science Park is a 45-acre development in a prime Hampshire location - just a mile from the M3 motorway and 1 hour from London. The Science Park provides high quality office and lab space in attractive landscaped surroundings. It is home to science and technology based companies of all sizes, from fast growing start-ups to international household names.
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Desktop Artists studio
Mobile Artists studio

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How to Start a Business

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