One of the four key ambitions within the council's Economic Wellbeing Strategy (PDF, 2.2mb) is for Southwark to become a place of choice to start and grow a business. In order to achieve this, we design and fund a range of business support services while also working with various partners to improve access to other programmes for Southwark businesses.
If you own a business located in Southwark or you're thinking about starting a business, and you'd like to find out more about the business support and advice services available, email us at SouthwarkBusinessDesk@southwark.gov.uk.
General advice and guidance
The below services offer general business support and guidance.
London Business Hub Wayfinder
The London Business Hub Wayfinder wants to support small businesses by providing them with the tools they need to thrive. The experienced Wayfinder team matches businesses with unbiased expert support on a range of issues. Southwark businesses can access free support, whether it helps with business planning, financial planning, sales and marketing, recruitment, technology, or much more. Businesses will be supported to navigate through support and resources to get the help they need.
London Business Hub
The London Business Hub supports London’s businesses to start, sustain and grow. It offers a range of support for businesses, including free, impartial, one-to-one advice and webinars for businesses at any stage of growth.
Business Support Helpline
The Business Support Helpline is a government funded initiative that provides help with starting and running a business. They also have some helpful videos on their YouTube channel.
Take a look at the Business Support Helpline website for more information on the service.
You can also contact them via:
- telephone: 0300 456 3565
- textphone: 0191 581 0052
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
They're available Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.
Free Disability Advice Service for London SMEs
Smarter London SMEs is a new service from the Business Disability Forum. It supports small and medium sized businesses based in London to receive free support and advice on disability and how it relates to their organisations. Receive advice on areas such as understanding disability and the law, guidance on adjustments and your responsibility as an inclusive employer.
The London Enterprise Panel’s Growth Hub
The London Enterprise panel maintains a ‘Growth Hub’ which keeps a list of available business support to businesses situated within the capital. The Hub provides useful search services to allow businesses to quickly and efficiently find relevant support services.
There's also a live chat and a link to the Business Support Helpline. Take a look at the Growth Hub.
SAGE has a useful advice blog providing a range of free articles to help entrepreneurs looking to start and grow their businesses. Articles range from how to start a business, to basic guides on business accounting and free invoice templates.
If you’re interested in reading their advice, visit the SAGE website.
LSBU - Business Solutions Centre
London South Bank University operated Business Solutions Centre offers a free drop in service to local businesses. Trained student advisors from the Universities' School of Business provide advice on a 1-2-1 basis.
The service consists of:
- Initial diagnostic meeting
- Solutions report compiled by student advisor
- Report signed off by LSBU staff
- Solutions report communicated to business, either by email or in person
London and Partners - Business Growth programme
Small and medium enterprises are the lifeblood of London, adding millions of pounds to the economy every year. London and Partners are committed to helping these businesses grow and for that reason, we’ve set up the Business Growth programme.
Open to businesses based in London, with 3 to 250 employees and a turnover of less than £40m, the programme offers:
- a dedicated business growth advisor
- mentoring scheme
- corporate engagement programme
- local business support
- focused workshops and events in London
If you're looking to overcome your barriers to growth and achieve your potential, London and Partners Business Growth Programme may be able to help. Sign up to the programme on the Business Growth website.
Small Business Research and Enterprise Centre
Visit the Small Business Research and Enterprise Centre for:
- expert staff to save you time and help you find what you need for your business career
- a space in the City to use the internet and have access to a range of books, magazines and databases
- making your own customised B2B mailing list for anywhere in the UK and/or the world
- range of seminars/workshops and training
- room hire
This free to use service is available to anyone.
Open to export
Open to Export is a community-based business service aimed at helping small and medium sized enterprises with their exporting and international trade needs. The website contains extensive exporting resources from government and specialist organisations. The website includes a popular Q&A section where business owners can ask questions to the wider community and get the answers they need.
View the Open to export website for more information.
Capital List is a service available free of charge to London based SMEs as part of the Capital Accelerator Programme, a project part-funded by the European Union Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Capital List delivers:
- a fundraising consultancy service
- pitch workshops
- networking drinks
- access to seed capital through the London Co-Investment Fund
Newable operates a variety of programmes aimed at supporting businesses through various schemes. These vary from programmes aimed at supporting business start-ups to projects designed to increase growth and business development.
For more information on the different projects available, visit the Newable website.
Acas is the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.
Acas help employers and employees by providing impartial advice, guidance, training, conciliation and other services that prevent or resolve workplace disputes.
Enterprise Ventures is a provider of venture capital and loans to small businesses in England and Wales. They can provide finance of up to £2 million for businesses in all sectors and at all stages of development - from funding for start-ups to investment to help you grow your business, fund a management buy-out or buy-in and replacement capital.
More information can be found on the Enterprise Ventures website.
Looking to let from the council? Need space for meetings or events?
Take a look at our commercial properties to let for more information.
Page last updated: 13 September 2023