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Business Support and Advice

There is a huge range of support and advice available to businesses – some of it is generic, some of it very specific. The links below should take you to useful organisations that will be able to deal with most of your queries.

COVID-19 - support for Businesses

The Restart Grant scheme - This grant is aimed at supporting businesses in reopening safely as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Grants will be available from 1 April 2021 aimed at businesses who have a rateable value and who offer in-person services in the eligible sectors. Your business may be eligible if it is rate-paying, in the non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care or gym sectors and trading on 1 April 2021. More details of the eligibility criteria can be found on the Council’s Covid 19 information page.

Reopening safely information - Whether your businesses has been trading throughout Lockdown, or whether you are eagerly waiting to re-open on Monday 12th April, Staffordshire County Council has produced a range of information that may be useful; an introductory letter (284Kb) from Dr Richard Harling, the Director for Health and Care; the Top Ten Tips for re-opening (294Kb) and  details of the enhanced Contact Tracing (115Kb) for residents and business offered by Staffordshire County Council. A number of posters have also be designed that can be downloaded and printed off for display in your business for the benefit of staff and customers (see the 'Useful Documents' section).

Free membership of the Federation of Small Business - the Borough Council is partnering with the Federation of Small Business to offer Borough based micro businesses (employing 1-4 people) a FREE 12 month membership package (external link) with the FSB. Businesses must not be a current FSB member and the memberships will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis for eligible applicants. Successful applicants will have all the benefits of full membership straight away. There are a limited number of these memberships available so if interested, email as soon as possible, giving us the following details

  • Your name (or applicant name)
  • Business name
  • Address (You must be based in the Borough, i.e. paying business rates/council tax to NuLBC)
  • Contact details (Telephone and email)
  • No. of employees (remember to include yourself – offer is only open to businesses employing 1-4 people).

To help businesses respond to the challenges of reopening and moving forward, a number of support programmes for small businesses and apprentices have been launched in Newcastle-under-Lyme as part of a £5million countywide support package in partnership with Staffordshire County Councils and other districts in the county

The Staffordshire Means Back to Business support programmes include an investment to fund wages for 500 apprentices, a training top-up fund for businesses to upskill their employees, a grants scheme to enable small businesses to thrive, a loan scheme for people who want to set up their own business and have completed the online Start-Up training course and more funding to support entrepreneurs currently in further education students to set up their own business.

  1. Small Business to Thrive Financial Support: Grants of £2,000 to £5,000 will be available to cover additional expenditure for essential businesses staying open during the pandemic and those with a plan to recover and get back to growth. Applicants will need to demonstrate all the measures they have put in place to remain open during the restriction period or the growth plan they have in place. Use this link to find out more about the process, eligibility and express an interest in a grant (external link).
  2. The Staffordshire 500 Apprentices Wage Support programme offers incentives to employers to take on 16 to 24-year-olds by contributing to the costs associated with recruiting and retaining an apprentice. It will support smaller companies that do not pay into the national apprenticeship levy. The programme could also offer apprentices progression from the national Kickstart scheme. Use this link to find out more on how to express an interest and apply (external link).
  3. Free Training Top-up Project offers employers support to upskill their employees or train new staff in accordance with their changing business operations or entering new markets. Grants of up to £5,000 would be provided and matched through other funding sources. Up to 400 Staffordshire businesses could be supported over the next 15 months through the programme. Find out more and express an interest (external link)

Staffordshire Start-up 0% interest loan scheme - The Borough Council, in partnership with Staffordshire County Council is offering interest-free start-up loans to qualifying businesses looking to invest and grow their business, to aid recovery from the COVID-19 restrictions or to get a brand new business idea off the ground.  Loans are available from £3,000 - £5,000 and are interest-free. The application process is simple and the decisions are made within 4 weeks of application.  Businesses eligible to apply for a loan are those who have participated in a business start-up mentoring scheme / workshop or established businesses that have been trading for up to 2 years.  This mentoring service is free and invaluable to new start-ups. For more information, please contact startuploans@staffordshire.gov.uk

Staffordshire Day Market - 2021 marks the sixth annual celebration of Staffordshire Day on 1 May and this year’s innovation is supporting Staffordshire's fantastic small businesses with the Staffordshire Day Virtual Market. There will be a huge selection of food & drink producers, artisan makers and more, coming together on Saturday 1 May to promote their products, alongside tourism businesses offering vouchers and experiences to help people plan your next visit to the county. If you are have are a Staffordshire business with an online shop, and you'd like to be involved in the Staffordshire Day Market, let the Enjoy Staffordshire team know by emailing info@enjoystaffordshire.com.

Coronavirus support is available to employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants, whether your business is open or closed.  This business support finder (external link) will help to see what support is available for you and your business.

Please use this link to access information about COVID-19 support for local businesses.

BREXIT - Check, Change, GO

The Brexit transition period has ended and new rules are here. Act now to keep your business moving.

The transition period has ended and the UK has left the EU customs union and single market and now enjoys a zero tariffs, zero quotas relationship with the EU as an independent trading nation. Following the signing of the UK – EU Free Trade Agreement, there are new rules for businesses which came into force on 1 January 2021 which require immediate action. Your business needs to act now to comply with these new rules. If you do not take action, there is a risk your business operations will be interrupted. These documents cover actions that businesses must take to ensure they are compliant with the new rules which have come into force.  Part A provides an overview of key actions for businesses as well as supporting guidance, helpline numbers and FAQs. Part B lists the top five actions for businesses in each of the following sectors: Aerospace, automotive, chemicals, construction, consumer goods, electronics and machinery, life sciences, metals and materials, professional business services and retail.

You should visit gov.uk/transition (external link) where you can use the checker tool to quickly identify the actions that your business needs to take. The checker tool will ask you questions about your business and provide all the information you need to be aware of such as new rules on:

You can help prepare your business for the new rules by using a number of support mechanisms provided by the Government:

  • Sign up to receive updates on the specific actions you need to take once you’ve used the  checker tool at gov.uk/transition (external link).
  • Sign up to receive the regular Business Readiness Transition Bulletin (external link) – an email newsletter providing information on major announcements and recently published guidance
  • Webinars from BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) across a range of topics will be available on gov.uk in January 2021. They will provide specific advice on how businesses can ensure they comply with the new rules.

We understand that this is a challenging time and encourage you to take action to avoid interruption to your business operations. Please contact the Economic Regeneration team if you need further information.

Upcoming events

Note: Events listed below are set up by external organisations. A mention here does not imply endorsement by the Council.

Due the current COVID 19 advice from government regarding events and meetings, this section is suspended until further notice.

Business Boost

The Newcastle Business Boost Awards is an annual competition open to all small businesses in the borough. Although the competition will not be running in 2020, there are some exciting new plans developing for the 2021 Awards. Go to the Business Boost Awards website for full details and how to enter the competition when it is launched in 2021. 

General business advice

The Stoke and Staffordshire Business Helpline is a good first point of contact for any queries relating to business advice. Tel: 0300 111 8002 or e-mail business enquiries

Another general site for information about running and growing a business is  the Great Business website.

If you are looking to take your business to the next stage and need help with any aspect, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce run a business mentor scheme which can provide experts in a variety of fields to work with your business on the issues where you need help.

If you are thinking about starting your own business, see the information on the ‘Business Start up page’.

Specific help for...

Innovation and diversification (products and services)

The Business Innovation Centre (BIC) provides advice and support for innovative ideas from all business sectors. It also runs a range of innovation workshops throughout the year.

Both Keele University and Staffordshire University  operate knowledge transfer partnerships, which provide access to university skills and expertise to help companies develop.

The Innovative Product Support Service programme supports existing small businesses through the early stages of developing a new product or process aiming to bring it closer to the market. Examples of the type of funded support include: Product Design, Engineering analysis, Market Research, Intellectual Property Advice, Electronics Development, Commercial Reviews, New Product Development & Planning, Development & Implementation of Sensor Technologies. For further information please contact Project Manager Mike Shields on 01902 321105 or e-mail Mike Shields.

The Staffordshire Digital Innovation Partnerships (SDIPs) programme is designed to drive transformation through digital innovation in the region. The programme will create 36 Partnerships between Staffordshire SMEs and Staffordshire University. Projects will improve business processes and support the development of new to market products and services through the use of innovative digital technologies. There are three strands -  Digital Innovation Partnerships (DIPs) supporting development of new processes, services or products; Business Intelligence Partnerships (BIPs) helping businesses to unlock the power of the data they collect; Social Challenge Innovation Partnerships (SCIPs) focussing on prototype solutions to social challenges

The Keele Research and Innovation Support Programme (KRISP) brings academics, professionals and students from Keele University together with local businesses to develop new products, services and processes. The second phase will enable a further 200 local businesses to be supported between June 2019 and December 2021. To find out how your business can benefit, contact 01782 733001 or business.gateway@keele.ac.uk

Environmental Performance

"Businesses who understand the environment are businesses with bright futures" according to the Staffordshire Business & Environment Network (SBEN). SBEN provides a range of services to businesses to help improve competitiveness, profitability and environmental performance.

Trade waste

All businesses produce waste in various quantities. However, no matter how much is generated from commercial premises it is classified as trade waste. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 a person that requests the collection of waste other than from a domestic household is liable to pay a reasonable charge for the collection and disposal of the waste to the organisation which arranges for its collection. Find out more about trade waste collection services from the Council. 

Training, apprentices and other human resource issues

Training courses for businesses from Newcastle-under-Lyme College.

Fully funded training courses to help your business grow are available through Skills Support for the Workforce. Eligibility criteria apply but both basic skills and higher level skills are included in the programme. For more information contact skills support.

Learndirect business offers a range of courses for your staff, leading to nationally recognised qualifications. You can also assess your leadership and management skills and create your own tailored plan for personal development.

Business crime

Explore ways of improving the effectiveness of your security and crime prevention arrangements with the Secured by Design interactive guide.

Businesses in and around Newcastle town centre may be interested in joining the Partnership Against Business Crime (PABC) a unique partnership dedicated to reducing the impact and cost of crime against businesses in both daytime and night time economies.

Relocation

The Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme offers a first class location for your business, whatever its size. Excellent communication links, a mixed land and property portfolio and a great quality of life adds up to a superb opportunity for the future of your business. The Council has different types of property and land available and a range of sizes to accommodate businesses in different stages of growth. Details of other land and premises available in the area, using an interactive database, can be found on the 'Make it Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire' website.

For additional information to help with investment decisions, for example area profiles and census data, details about local education establishments, see the ‘Useful Links’ section.

Health and Safety Issues

The Environmental Health team make over 800 pest control visits each year to local businesses, including factories, offices, shops and school.  They regularly treat ant infestations, wasps’ nests and control rats and mice for commercial clients.

Certain workplace injuries, accidents and dangerous occurrences must be reported to the relevant health and safety enforcing authorities. These accidents are called ‘reportable’, and can now be reported directly to the HSE Incident Contact Centre.

Sector specific support

Tourism businesses

Destination Staffordshire is a dynamic partnership of visitor attractions, accommodation, eating establishments, artists, tourism businesses and councils that are working together to drive tourism in Staffordshire. Working in partnership with Winning Moves they are able to offer a specialised package of support for tourism businesses in Staffordshire.

Exclusively for small to medium tourism businesses across Staffordshire, the programme will provide tailored support for businesses to help improve your bottom line. Eligible businesses will have access to services under the programme including 1-2-1 consultancy, as well as a series of inspirational workshops and masterclasses that will give you practical tips and actions that you can apply in your business straight away. Check out Destination Staffordshire Support for Tourism Businesses delivered by Winning Moves Ltd for the full programme.

Creative industries

The creative sector continues to grow and develop in the area. Factory is Staffordshire’s dedicated business support programme for the creative sector, delivered through a series of bespoke support activities including: one to one business advice & guidance, business development workshops, sector driven events, networking opportunities, experienced mentors, tradeshow exposure and competitive market intelligence to help drive your business forward.

Rural businesses

The Rural Enterprise Programme operates across Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire’s rural areas which includes a large part of Newcastle-under-Lyme borough, grant applications for Rural Enterprise Programme are now closed.

Medical technology and healthcare businesses

Opportunities, events and networking for medical and non-medical companies wanting to grow their business from Medilink West Midlands.

Professional and business services

Finest - The North Staffordshire professional services network.

Town centre businesses

Businesses in and around Newcastle town centre have recently voted in favour of making the town a Business Improvement District (BID). This will generate around £280,000 a year for the next five years which will be used to fund activity identified in the business plan. The Newcastle BID website provides information about the BID and details of the support activities available for town centre businesses.

Businesses in Kidsgrove can become part of 'Go Kidsgrove', the town centre partnership for Kidsgrove.

Food related businesses

All food businesses are legally required to register with their Council at least 28 days before they intend to start trading.  Registration is free and involves completing a simple form to confirm the business's trading name, address, ownership, type of food activity and the opening date.  Registration is a one off process and the food business only needs to notify the Council if there are any significant changes.
 
Allergic reactions to food can be life threatening. In Britain, there are about six reported deaths each year due to food induced allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. Most of these fatal reactions are triggered by food eaten out. If your business involves food, check out this guidance for caterers and managers.

When problems arise

If you feel your business is getting into financial difficulties, contact the Stoke and Staffordshire business helpline as soon as possible on 0300 111 8002 or e-mail business enquiries to be put in contact with organisations that may be able to help you.

If you are struggling to pay rent, talk to your landlord as soon as you realise this is an issue - they may be willing to offer more favourable terms. For issues with rates contact the Council's business rates team on 01782 715500

In the worst case, if you are considering insolvency, look at the advice from the Insolvency Service. The Law Donut site also has concise information about the questions you need to be considering.


Last updated  28 May 2021

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