Support For Local Businesses
We want Sheffield to be a fantastic place for local businesses. If you are a local business the information below may be of use to you:
- Eventbrite has many listed Business Events (free). They also have a free app.
- Sheffield Central Library also have many Business Events (free)
- Sheffield Growth Hub 0333 252 3689 A single point of contact for all business support across the region. Providing advice and signposting based on your business needs. Growth Support. New Business. Access to Finance. Trade and Export. Impartial Business Advice
- Business Sheffield. Free business support services to start up or grow your business – BusinessSheffield@sheffield.gov.uk 0114 224 5000. Business Events here.
- Finance and Expert Support for your business.
- Sheffield Chamber of Commerce
- University Of Sheffield Business Support
- Sheffield Bid. Delivers projects that add value to the existing offer across all business sectors, supporting economic growth for a diverse range of sectors across retail, corporate, leisure and culture, education and public services. The BID’s investment focuses on achieving higher visitor numbers and a vibrant city centre; easier access and navigation; a safer day-time and night-time economy; a cleaner environment; and a powerful voice for the 500+ businesses that pay into the BID. If you are a business in the city centre, check them out.
- Dotforge. Electric Works, Sheffield, S1 2BJ. The Tech4Good Accelerator that's dedicated to changing the world. Backing socially motivated entrepreneurs. Dotforge is the only Tech4Good accelerator programme based in the North of England and only in the North of England. All of the Dotforge Impact startups are sparked by a desire to solve a social problem which is a catalyst for tech innovation.
- Government Business Helpline
- Government Business Information
- Skills Bank is an innovative skills investment programme. Designed to support growth within businesses through investment in training, it provides flexible funding to deliver bespoke, tailored training.
- AD:VENTURE - Leeds City Region Provides free business development support and guidance.
- Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) - UK Advice on good practice in employment and employment relations.
- Better Business Finance - UK Free, quick and easy access to a directory of approved finance suppliers for UK businesses.
- Big Issue Invest - UK Big Issue Invest helps social enterprises and charities by providing loans and investments.
- Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) – Yorkshire Support for scientists and business specialists to solve a process, material, or product development challenge.
- Business Assist - The Midlands One-to-one advisory sessions and specialised workshops available for businesses in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Greater Lincolnshire.
- Business Cash Advance - UK Alternative financing for UK small business owners.
- Business Enterprise fund - North East England Financial support for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Yorkshire and the North East.
- Business growth - Calderdale Supports West Yorkshire businesses that are aspiring to grow, become more competitive or develop new products and services.
- Business Support and Development - Yorkshire and Humber Free and subsidised advice, seminars, networking and training for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in North Yorkshire
- Childcare business grants scheme (CBGS) - England A grant for setting up a new childminder business or childminder agency (CMA).
- Community Entrepreneurs Scheme Free short courses about becoming self-employed.
- CompeteFor contract service - UK Free support to help businesses compete for major public and private sector contracts
- Conservation grant scheme - Howardian Hills Grants to help with community and rural conservation projects.
- Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) grants scheme - England Support and funding to help businesses increase their competitiveness in the construction sector
- CRACK IT – Challenges A fund to support competitions which solve business and scientific 'challenges' and deliver commercial benefits.
- Creative England Business Loans Low-interest loans for creative digital small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in England, but outside Greater London.
- Enterprise programme for young people - UK The Prince's Trust helps young people aged 18 to 30 who want to set up their own business in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
- Fair Business Loans Unsecured loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have been refused mainstream funding
- Finance For Enterprise - South Yorkshire and North Midlands Loans and advice for new start, early stage and established businesses across South Yorkshire and North Midlands
- Fit For Nuclear business support - England Business support and advice for companies that want to bid for work in the civil nuclear industry
- Funding and advice for space services - UK Funding, technical and business expertise, networks and partnerships for businesses who are looking to develop a space-based service.
- Funding Circle - UK Peer-to-peer loans for established SMEs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) - UK Grant contribution to pay towards upgrading business broadband to a high-speed capable connection.
- Heritage Enterprise (HE) - UK Funding to help restore neglected historic buildings and sites and unlock their economic potential.
- Horizon 2020 funding Funding for research or innovation that's ground breaking, improves European research standards or responds to challenges like climate change or food security.
- Industrial Partnership Awards (IPA) - UK This scheme supports academic-led science projects where an industry partner has an interest in its potential use.
- Industry fellowship Scheme to enable knowledge transfer between scientists in industry and academia.
- Innovate UK - grant funding, innovation loans and expert support Supports innovative UK businesses to realise the potential of new technologies, develop ideas and make them a commercial success.
- Innovate2succeed - UK Up to 7 days of specialist innovation help for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI2) - UK Grant programme focusing on improving health outcomes by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines.
- Instant Business Advice - Calderdale Council Free business advice via live chat.
- Investment Fund - North of England Finance to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the North West, Yorkshire, the Humber and Tees Valley
- Key Fund - Midlands and the North of England Grants and loans for social enterprises in the North and the Midlands.
- Leeds City Region LEP Capital Grants Capital grants to support expansion projects that create jobs in the Leeds City Region area.
- Let's Grow Grant Scheme - York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Business grant scheme for capital investment and research and development projects in north and east Yorkshire.
- Manufacturing Growth Programme - Midlands, Yorkshire, East of England Free advice and support for small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses.
- Media sub-programme grants - UK Grants for the film, television, new media and video games industries
- National Skills Academies - England Find quality assured training provision for your sector from a National Skills Academy in England.
- National Tooling Loan Fund - England Loans to help toolmakers and component manufacturers fund the design, development, and manufacture of tooling.
- NBV Grant for Enterprise Grants to support growth of micro and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Greater Lincolnshire.
- Product and Process Innovation - York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Innovation funding for small businesses in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding.
- Rail Supply Growth Fund Finance for businesses in the rail supply sector or those seeking to enter it.
- Repair Grants for Heritage at Risk - England Grants for the repair and conservation of historic buildings, monuments and landscapes.
- Resource Efficiency Fund - Leeds city area Support and grants for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to reduce their utility costs and minimise their environmental impact.
- Social Enterprise Exchange Business support, grant funding and access to finance for existing social enterprises and those looking to start up.
- Stand-alone LINK - UK Supports collaborations in new areas of exploratory science with no current industrial use but may have future applications.
- Start & Grow - digital business support platform Online platform offering resources to help people to start and grow a business.
- START2ACT START2ACT is an energy efficiency support programme for young SMEs and start-ups in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Starting in business programme - Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Greater Lincolnshire 4-day workshop on starting and running a successful business available in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Greater Lincolnshire.
- There are numerous events like Startup Weekend which runs several times a year, where you get can involved in new start ups as team members, or pitch your ideas to build a team and meet like minded and skilled people.
- The MADE Entrepreneurs Festival is an event that was really big this year. It has everything from talks from ex Dragons’ Den investors to co-founder dating and meeting experts at the Entrepreneurs pub.
Why should you start a business in Sheffield?
One of Yorkshire’s main metropolitan centres along with Leeds and Bradford, Sheffield has been keen to establish itself as a centre for enterprise and was rated the number one enterprise zone for modern manufacturing and technology in the UK by the Financial Times fDi magazine. The city also enjoys good transport links, situated close to the M1 and with Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster close by.
With a particular pedigree in manufacturing, tech and IT, Sheffield represents a good destination for digital businesses; its creative and digital quarter is home to a growing start-up scene, and office space is available at one of a number of Sheffield Technology Parks. If you are a biotech start-up, Sheffield could represent a particularly good option – its Sheffield Bioincubatorinitiative is a kind of ‘science park meets accelerator’, offering access to labs, shared workspace, and collaboration initiatives with the University of Sheffield.
In the last year, Sheffield has also upped the support it provides to local start-ups and small businesses. In May 2016, the council launched the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Growth Hub, a £4m programme backed by partners such as Prince’s Trust which intends to drive growth of “hundreds of new businesses” by 2019.
Access to talent in Sheffield
132,500: Working age population with NVQ Level 4 and above (2015)
£505.30: Average full-time weekly earnings (2016)
Sheffield is home to two major universities; The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam. The University of Sheffield is consistently ranked in the top 100 UK universities and is heavily research-focused, claiming a status as one of the top 10 intensive research-focused universities in the country. In addition to the talent produced by both universities, the University of Sheffield runs a number of collaboration programmes and partnerships with local businesses to achieve common goals.
Number of new start-ups (2015):
– see how this compares with other cities
As a proportion of the overall population, Sheffield’s skills force has caught up in comparison with similar cities since 2014. 36% of people (132,500) living in the city have NVQ Level 4 qualifications or above, compared to Leeds’ 33%, Newcastle’s 36.9% and Greater Manchester’s 39.5%. The city’s £130m Skills Bank, which is set to provide training for 40,000 people in Sheffield City – including 5,000 to 7,000 apprentices – and substantially increase access to skilled recruits for local businesses, is currently underway.
In terms of cost, you are likely to find recruitment costs slightly cheaper here than in comparable cities; median full-time weekly earnings in 2016 stood at £505.30 a week, less than Leeds (£528.70) and Newcastle Upon Tyne (£507.90), but more than Birmingham (£497.40) and Manchester (£467.50).
Access to business support in Sheffield
2: Science parks
Businesses in the tech and biotech sectors are likely to be spoilt for choice with the business support on offer. Dotforge is the city’s well-known accelerator programme; targeted at tech start-ups, the three-stage programme takes businesses from seed stage to raising their first round of investment through a combination of pre-seed capital, mentoring and collaborative office space. Alongside this, Sheffield University operates a Social Innovation Accelerator scheme, although the requirements are very specific; participants must be either students or graduates of the university and operate a social venture.
As mentioned above, biotech ventures can take particular advantage of the University of Sheffield’s bioincubator scheme, which provides office and lab space for spin-outs, start-ups and entrepreneurs wanting to co-locate on campus and take advantage of the facilities and research the University offers.
Sheffield’s City Enterprise Zone is a particular highlight; it is ranked the UK’s #1 enterprise zone for modern manufacturing and technology, with one of the greatest concentrations of manufacturing businesses in the UK.
Survival rates (2010-2015):
Businesses with other focuses should also find Sheffield offers a good range of options for locating there. Although – as with many other UK cities – Grade A space in the city centre is dwindling, the recent opening of the mixed-use St Paul’s Place development has added 83,891 sq. ft. of space into the city centre. Elsewhere, there is more than a million sq ft of space available at Sheffield Business Park, outside the city centre, with other business parks including Hawke St, and Hydra Park, just off the M1.
Start-ups in the Sheffield area can now also benefit from additional business support and advice with the launch of the city’s very own EU-backed Business & IP Centre.
In comparison to other cities, freelancers and start-ups looking for co-working space are somewhat limited, but Union Street offers co-working space for £35 a month.
Access to grants and funding in Sheffield
As part of the wider Regional Growth Fund-backed LEP programme, Sheffield offers a £32m ‘Unlocking Business Investment’ programme, which provides grants of between £25,000 and £2m to eligible businesses looking to unlock private investment and create new jobs with sustainable projects. The majority of the fund has now been allocated, but around £3m still remains.
Whilst the ‘Unlocking Business Investment’ programme is the only direct grant scheme operating in the city at the moment, businesses looking for other forms of finance have a number of options. The SME Loan Fund is intended to help Sheffield businesses which have found it difficult to raise traditional forms of finance; loans of between £5,000 and £25,000 are available for businesses with at least a one year trading record and which are paying their business rates to Sheffield City Council.
Number of business deaths (2015):
Young entrepreneurs based in the region can also access the Start Up Loans for Young People scheme. Available to entrepreneurs based in the region and age 18-30, the scheme provides small loans of up to £5,000 to establish or grow start-ups. This opportunity appears to be currently closed.
Rounding off the funding availability is the Threshold Companies Initiative, which will provide a programme of intensive support to up to 25 companies based in Sheffield. This will comprise dedicated support from a Growth Advisor and access to events and networking opportunities, in addition to an investment of up to £15,000 to fund the delivery of an agreed growth opportunity.
In terms of angel networks, Sheffield is under the auspices of the Yorkshire-wide YABA(Yorkshire Association of Business Angels), the largest such consortium in the region. Through its Rising Stars service, the network helps early-stage companies develop their business plan and structure to become investment-ready, valuing the company in the process.
In terms of business survival, 41.8% of start-ups launched in 2010 survived through to 2015, marginally better than nearby Leeds (41.7%).
Quality of life in Sheffield
£154,481: Property price average (September 2016)
68.19: Crimes per 1,000 people (June 2015)
15.4mbps: Average broadband speed
The average house price in the Sheffield metropolitan area in September 2016 stood at £154,481; considerably lower than the 2015 average of £183,396, making the city somewhat cheaper than the neighbouring city of Leeds at £170,927, and comparable to similarly sized Manchester (£153,590).
For the year ending June 2015, there were 68.19 crimes committed per 1,000 people, making the city one of the safest in the UK for its size. Leeds, Leicester and Newcastle all have considerably higher crime levels, and the crime level is substantially lower than in larger cities such as Manchester and Birmingham.
Sheffield is well-known for its views and natural beauty, and is the only UK city which shares its boundaries with a national park – a whole third of the city lies within the boundaries of the visually spectacular Peak District, making the city an ideal destination for entrepreneurs fond of the great outdoors. Indeed, the city itself boasts 83 parks, and touts itself as the “greenest city in Europe”. It’s not just walks and green space, though; Sheffield has a long pedigree in arts, culture and live music, and was a particularly influential hub in the Yorkshire dance music revival of the early 1990s.
What is BID?
BID (Business Improvement District) is a group of businesses in Sheffield 'working to make Sheffield city centre busier, easier, safer, cleaner and more together'. If you are a city centre business come & join BID. There are all sorts of benefits.
Changing Sheff is pressing for a consultative group to be created, so BID maintains contact with the people living in the City Centre.