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In addition to the national and regional programmes of funding and business support, many local authorities provide their own services alongside those of the private sector and other organisations. If you know of any business related schemes or funds that are not listed below and that you would like to be considered for inclusion, please email us at

Free 1:1 Business Advice

Chat with a qualified Business Adviser face to face or over the phone. Advice is fully funded by the local council and includes a wide range of additional support. Click on the logo to access a call back request. The Adviser will contact you and arrange a time to meet.

Two to three hours of free advice and guidance from a qualified Import/Export Adviser. Specialising in the technical documentation for both importing and exporting goods across the world. Customs codes, legalisation, Incoterms, etc. Book a call back now.

Free advice and support over the web, phone and face to face for businesses ready to export. The type of support will vary based on your preparedness.

The Innovative Sector Exchange (ISE) Project aims to support businesses with innovation and international trade in order to enable partnerships between Kent SMEs and businesses & experts in Belgium, Netherlands, France and the UK.

Kent International Business (KIB) is a Kent-wide initiative which aims to encourage Kent businesses to export and access overseas markets and to provide information, advice and support to help them do so. KIB is led by Kent County Council in partnership with various business support organisations in the county.

The EU-funded Boost4Health project provides free support for Kent-based life science businesses for internationalisation. The project offers practical and financial support through 1-2-1 coaching and grants of up to €5000 to help businesses take the first steps into the European market.

Free consultation with a Chartered accountant in your area. There is a limit to the number of free consultations you can have which will be determined by the accountant you choose.

Government backed New Enterprise Allowance Scheme for job seekers and long term unemployed. Small loan and mentoring support accessible through the job centre.

Free advice and support for young people aged 18 to 30, living in the UK and unemployed, or working fewer than 16 hours a week. Includes volunteer mentors and possible grant.

Free advice and support for young people aged 18 to 30. Includes access to a network of volunteer mentors.

With a focus on helping SMEs expand into new markets, find collaborative partners, and increase their competitiveness, the University of Greenwich delivered service provides expert support across a wide range of fronts. This includes advising on EU legislation, helping to access funding, identifying new market opportunities, and helping companies to develop and take new products and services to market.

Innovate2Succeed is a fully-funded programme designed to support ambitious SMEs that recognise innovation plays an integral role in their growth plans and need assistance taking new products and services to market. It offers tailored support from an Innovation Adviser and can support your senior team to address important areas of innovation management.

This is a free 30 minute consultation, which can be face-to-face, by email or by telephone to discuss your legal issues and outline the next steps that would be taken, and give you an estimate of the costs/likely timescales.

Free Local Resources

Locate in Kent are the inward investment organisation for Kent & Medway and have a comprehensive database of available property in the area. For larger businesses relocating into the area they also offer a “concierge” service to help smooth the way.

Love Ashford is the official website for Ashford Town Centre. It acts not just as a digital High Street but also has details of events, skills workshops, specialist advice and other activities.

Kent County Council offers a free database service for businesses located in the county. “Ask a Kent Librarian”. Once a month you can request a data list of business contacts that has been compiled from Companies House, HMRC and commercial databases

Skills, Training, Research & Recruitment

Grants are available to support the creation of apprenticeships. These will vary based on the nature of the skill and also the provider but it is fast becoming an effective means of growing your business. Local apprenticeships are normally provided through the local college.

Access to some of the brightest and most talented student and graduates in the UK via the Graduate Internships. Santander will donate half of the intern’s salary (£1,000 a month) to the university, with the other half funded by the business or university.

National programmes for funding of innovation and development are provided through Innovate UK. There are a wide range of funding competitions that encourage collaboration with universities and research establishments to develop new intellectual property. Follow the link to find out more.

University of Kent. With over 40 research centres and units, the University of Kent are helping companies of all sizes to keep pace with changing technical and organisational demands, and develop competitive advantages. The Kent Innovation & Enterprise team works with you, and in line with your business needs, to develop innovative research project ideas and engage with University resources.

Christchurch University. As a modern University, Christchurch has a wealth of talented people and specialist facilities available. Their expertise covers a wide range of subject areas and they have a long history of working in partnership with organisations to exchange knowledge. Talk to them about how they can work with your organisation to significantly improve efficiency, effectiveness and profitability.

University of Greenwich. There are a number of ways the University of Greenwich can help your business grow. With access to expertise across a wide range of disciplines, they can work with you on joint research and development or consultancy projects. You can use their testing equipment and facilities, and they also have a wide range of technical & analytical testing facilities, all operated by knowledgeable staff with relevant industry experience.

Local Networks and Business Groups

Accredited Chamber of Commerce for Kent and Medway. Providing business support, member benefits, representation, international trade support, conferencing and events.

The FSB offer their members a wide range of vital business services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government. Their mission is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions.

An independent association of business leaders, the Institute of Directors’ objective is to make sure your views are taken into account when the government is reviewing policy, legislation or seeking the opinions of the wider business community.

Produced in Kent is a trade organisation dedicated to supporting & promoting food, drink, products and services in Kent. We provide vital support to a diverse range of businesses which in turn provide valuable employment opportunities in Kent and are at the economic heart of our rural communities.

Visit Kent is the official Destination Management Organisation for Kent and Medway responsible for supporting and growing the tourism industry.

The group consists of companies in the Kent area involved in construction, such as Architects, Surveyors, Contractors, Construction Suppliers, and Land Agents etc. They promote best practice, represent the industry at county level and collaborate on new opportunities.

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