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Support for businesses in Dorset

Advice, mentoring and resources to help start and develop your business.

General business advice has advice on starting up and running a business including information on tax and finance.  

Dorset Growth Hub

Dorset Growth Hub (opens in a new window) has advice and support for new and existing businesses. They can advise on business start up, business growth, finance, marketing, digital capabilities and employment and skills. They also offer free courses across Dorset which cover the essentials of running a business.​

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership

The Dorset LEP is a business led private and public sector partnership that aims to create more jobs and promote local economic growth, acting as a strategic gateway to funding.

Mentoring for small businesses

Dorset Business Mentoring (Dormen) (opens in a new window) recruits experienced business and professional people as volunteers to help small developing businesses, by providing a mentoring service to them. It can help you work through the best business decisions, formulate and test business plans and solve problems.

Grow your business overseas

The Department for International Trade (DIT) provides expert trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies who want to grow their business overseas. Businesses can receive enquiries from potential overseas customers from day one. DIT supports many thousands of companies each year, and has locally-based trade advisers, helping companies to take their first order and start building an international business.

Visit Business West to contact the South West specialists.

Dorset Chamber of Commerce can offer advice in the following areas:

  • export readiness
  • export finance
  • getting goods to market
  • international market access
  • overseas marketing

Chambers of Commerce

Chambers of Commerce are local associations which promote and protect the interests of the business community. They can provide advice or put you in touch with expert assistance.

There are 5 Chambers of Commerce in Dorset:

Mentoring for digital organisations

Silicon South is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to accelerating the digital economy in Dorset, which is one of the fastest growing creative and digital hubs in Europe.

Apply online to get free one-to-one mentoring from successful digital entrepreneurs.

Food and farming industry support

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) (opens in a new window) are the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. You may wish to contact them for sector regulations, funding opportunities or general support and advice.

Support for engineering and manufacturing businesses

The Dorset Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) was created to provide a voice for the sector across Dorset, enabling companies to collaborate, become more sustainable, deliver to their full potential and be recognised for doing so.

Join the EMC to benefit from:

  • assistance with raising the profile of the engineering and manufacturing sector to drive productivity and growth - in Dorset, across the UK and overseas
  • developing supply chain opportunities in order to increase market share
  • providing an opportunity to network and collaborate through a programme of events and workshops
  • supporting solutions to underpin workforce development, skills, training and apprentice schemes
  • identifying ways in which to collaborate with education providers and research organisations in order to drive innovation
  • providing information on access to business support, market intelligence, finance and funding
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