Business & Enterprise

Westminster Business Unit

The Westminster Business Unit aims to make it easier for businesses to navigate their way through council services and get the information, advice and guidance they need.

It provides a new single point of contact offering bespoke support.

Whether you are considering self-employment, starting out in business, or an established business looking to grow, contact the Business Unit for support.

Get in touch
Tel: 020 7641 2070
Email: businessunit@westminster.gov.uk

How the Business Unit can help

  • Responding to your enquiries effectively and promptly
  • Directing your enquiries to other relevant public bodies and business support providers
  • Linking your business to the support and advice available in Westminster
  • Providing local economy and market intelligence
  • Responding to local investment enquiries from initial advice to ongoing support
  • Introducing the bidding process for council and public sector contracts
  • Aligning your Corporate Social Responsibility activity with local priorities
  • Ensuring concerns and requests are fed back to the council

 

Read the Westminster Business Unit Policies and Guidelines here.

  • If you want to start or grow a business, the government’s GREAT Business website will direct you to a wide range of support services, from start-up advice, to mentoring, funding, importing and exporting.

    The Federation of Small Businesses also offers support and advice for small business owners.

    For more specific advice for starting a business in Westminster please read the information below.

    1. Business planning and testing your idea
    2. Co-working spaces, Incubators and Accelerators
    3. Finance for your business
    4. Business networking events, training and mentoring
    5. Popup shops and markets

  • If you are a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) and want to grow your business there is plenty of help available in Westminster. 

    Whether you are looking for export advice, access to mentors, growth funding, or business support there is something to meet your needs.

    For SME information and guidance, please see the below:

    1. London Growth Hub
    2. European Regional Development Funded Project
    3. London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    4. Federation of Small Businesses
    5. Mayor’s International Business Programme
    6. Department for International Trade
    7. Westminster Business Council
    8. Innovate UK
  • There are 4 Business Information Points (BIPs) offering excellent resources and networking opportunities for business:

    Whether you’re taking your first steps as an entrepreneur, or looking for new ideas for your business, our BIPs can help.

    Around 140,000 people benefit from BIPs per year, a new turnover of approximately £1.8 million is generated by BIP clients per year as well as £400,000 net GVA.

    Watch this BBC clip to see how successful Westminster entrepreneur Ben Reynolds used the BIPs to start his business.

    BIPs offer:

    • Books on starting a business, marketing, finance, tax and more
    • Business opportunities and advice on how to run a business
    • Market reports and industry overviews
    • Information on companies, manufacturers and suppliers
    • Access to current and past news coverage
    • Free internet access and WiFi
    • Access from anywhere to our 24/7 online resources

    The BIP at Westminster Reference library also offers:

    • Access to market reports, major daily papers, and trade and financial journals
    • A research and mailing list creation service (£35 per hour) – email bip@westminster.gov.uk for more information

    Events and networking
    BIPs hold regular events and workshops providing valuable networking opportunities. View or book events at Eventbrite, or view our library events page.

    Sign up to Eventbrite or email bip@westminster.gov.uk to be added to our events mailing list.

    Supporting resources
    Westminster’s specialist libraries provide many resources like:

    • Westminster Reference Library’s law collection
    • Westminster City Archives’s business collection
    • Westminster Reference Library’s performing arts and art and design collections including The Knowledge, PCR, The White Book
    • the Music Library’s music collection   

    Further information

    • Business advice services in and around Westminster
    • Online business resources available to libraries members
  • If you want to start or grow a business, the government’s GREAT Business website will direct you to a wide range of support services, from start-up advice, to mentoring, funding, importing and exporting. 

    The Federation of Small Businesses also offers support and advice for small business owners.

    For more specific advice for starting a business in Westminster please read the information below.

    Business finance
    – GOV.UK offers an explanation of the different forms of finance for business and you can search for finance schemes relevant to your business.

    Creative Industry Finance – there is a range of free support for creative businesses and opportunities to access loans of between £5000 and £25000

    London Business Angels – LBA connects fast growth technology companies to equity finance through its membership of experienced angel investors. Operating since the early 1980s, LBA has the longest track record in the business, supporting existing investors, would-be investors and entrepreneurs. 

    Start-Up Loans Fund – A government funded scheme to provide advice, business loans and mentoring to startup businesses.

    Innovate UK – If you’re looking to develop new projects and services and bring them closer to market, Innovate Uk provides a range of funding programmes and support  

    London Co-Investment Fund invests in high growth technology, science and digital start-ups in London

     

  • New Free Legal Advice Service for Westminster

    Free legal advice for social enterprises

    King’s Legal Clinic is a new free legal advice service offered by the Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College London.

    The service, which offers free interviews and initial written advice, is provided by law students under the supervision of qualified lawyers.

    Kings Legal Clinic and international law firm Charles Russell Speechlys LLP are teaming up to offer free legal advice to start-up social enterprises. Steve Levett, Director of King’s Legal Clinic at King’s College London said, “Every year in London thousands of businesses are started by people who want to make a difference to their communities. This new legal advice clinic will make this that little bit easier by offering free legal advice on everything from the best form of business structure through to advice on employment contracts or data protection regulations”.

    Students from the Dickson Poon School of Law working under the guidance of legal specialists at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP will offer free face-to-face interviews and letters of advice to anyone needing help to setup or develop a new social enterprise. Help will also be available for people who have recently become or are thinking of becoming self-employed.

    Mark White (Associate at Charles Russell Speechlys) said “Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is delighted to be supporting the Dickson Poon School of Law in offering this new service. There are quite a few places in London where people can go to get help with legal problems around issues like housing or debt, but it can sometimes be difficult for a small business to get free legal advice about business related matters. Getting the right advice from the start can make the difference between success and failure.”

    Kings start-up legal advice clinic will operate by appointment only from King’s legal clinic at King’s College London Strand campus. To make an appointment visit there website here or call 0207 848 1575.

     


    King’s Business School – Business Consultancy

    How can I improve my business’s sales?
    How can I make the most of social media to grow my business?
    How do I launch a new product?
    How can I build my team without losing its focus?
    How can I find sources of funding?
    How can I make my business more efficient?

    These are just some of the questions you will face as an entrepreneur, alongside the daily challenges of keeping your business on course. Do you ever wish someone could do some of the thinking for you?

    Westminster City Council and King’s College London are committed to supporting local businesses, and are collaborating on a pilot basis to offer six enterprises in the Westminster area the opportunity to receive business consultancy from ambitious and skilled King’s Business School students, totally free of charge. They can offer support on a range of business topics, including:

    • recruitment & HR
    • marketing & social media
    • financial analysis
    • strategy & business planning
    • data analysis

    If you’re interested in this opportunity, complete the expression of interest form which outlines your business and the question(s) which you would like to explore. The completed form should be submitted to businessunit@westminster.gov.uk by 12 midday on Friday 12 October.

    If your proposal is accepted, you will be contacted by King’s Business School students to set up an initial meeting where you will discuss your question with them. The students will report back to you within 4 weeks with their analysis and recommendations, in a 20-minute presentation supported by a written report.

    The consultancy will start in late October 2018 and finish in March 2019. During this time, the student groups will meet with their assigned businesses to discuss challenges, agree objectives and work towards them. At the end of the consultancy period, the students will provide their final analysis and recommendations in the form of a 20-minute presentation and accompanying written report which your business can use to achieve its goals going forward.

    What are you waiting for…?!

Contact

Contact the Westminster Business Unit to get information and advice on affordable workspace, business support, employment and training, business rates, licensing, and more.

Newsletter

Our business e-newsletter is sent out monthly and keeps you up-to-date with:

  • Special offers and discounts for businesses
  • Advice for SMEs and start-ups
  • Events and training opportunities
  • Ways to help support the community and develop your CSR policy
  • Commercial services available to businesses

 

To read previous editions of the business e-newsletter, please click here