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Exciting plans for The Harris

The Harris will temporarily close from 5pm on Saturday 2 October.

Starting a business

Two hands in a handshake

Starting your own business or working for yourself requires careful planning, research and preparation.

Whether you have a clear vision or you are not sure where to start, this page details where you can find help and support to turn your idea into a business.

Starting Up

Boost Business Lancashire offers start-up support, delivered by Winning Pitch and Enterprise 4 All. Delivery of the Boost support is available on-line so the support is accessible in a Covid-safe way.  Telephone 0800 488 0057 for an initial chat.

Hyndburn Enterprise Trust offers one-to-one impartial business advice free of charge to anyone thinking of starting a business in Lancashire. They can help new and established small to medium businesses and can provide Start Up Loans

For more details contact or call 01254 600625.

Action For Jobs helps people into employment or further education but also offers support to those wishing to become self-employed or help with business growth and development. Email: 

Setting up a Co-operative - free webinars

Interested in starting a business as a co-operative? If you missed these two webinars for the local business and start-up community you can view them by following the links below:

Funding available for start-up worker co-operatives

Are you looking to set up a worker-owned cooperative or convert your existing business into one? The University of Central Lancashire in partnership with the Preston Cooperative Development Network is providing start-up technical support to March 2022.

The OSF Fund is available for worker cooperative start-ups. Successful applicants will receive a bespoke package of technical support to assist with the set-up of a new worker cooperative business. This might cover:

  • Cooperative management and organisation
  • Employment and staffing
  • Marketing, sales and PR
  • Business planning
  • Financial planning and raising finance
  • Legal structure and governance
  • Funding will also cover cooperative registration fees.

A bespoke package of advice will be agreed with each successful applicant and will include up to 10 days of consultancy support.

How to apply?

If you wish to apply for the technical support, please write an email to and request an application form.

Funding for Start Ups

  • Start Up Loans - If you are aged over 18 with a viable business plan, you could apply for a government-backed Start Up Loan. The amount you can borrow will be based on your business plan. Please contact Lancashire Community Finance for more information, who also provide advice and mentoring.
  • Virgin Start Up is also a delivery partner for the Start Up Loans and its website has advice and offers for start up businesses.
  • Enterprise Allowance is for those claiming Jobseekers''s Allowance (JSA) and looking to establish a new business. Contact your local JCP office for details..  

See our Business Finance and Grants section for more information on some of the funding available for all businesses.


If you are interested in setting up a co-operative, or want more information, events and networks, we have a dedicated co-operatives section on our website. Or contact Gaynor Wood at UCLan (Preston Cooperative Development Network).

Starting a food business

If you're thinking of starting a food business find out what you need to know, plus the food hygiene and safety legislation requirements you must meet from the beginning by seeing starting a food business.

Find workspace

You can search for offices in Preston from our business property section using our free search.

Many premises offer special services for start up companies such as rent-a-desk, incubation support, co-working and virtual offices.

In Preston some of these are: 

Useful support


The government website Gov.UK has useful advice on setting up a business.  

There is also a new Business Support Helpline Number  - 0800 998 1098

The Government Business Support helpline provides free, impartial business support and signposting services to businesses in England - which currently includes business advice on Covid-19.

Boost - Lancashire's Growth Hub

Boost provides access to a range of funded programmes including the Growth Support Programme from Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all which offers practical advice, support and coaching for owners of high-growth start-ups and early-start businesses.

Email  or call 0800 488 0057 for more details.


Orvia offers independent help and support to both individuals and new businesses across the whole of Lancashire.

Prince's Trust  Enterprise Programme

If you are aged between 18 and 30 and unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours per week you could get help to start up in business from the Prince's Trust Enterprise Programme.

Building Better Opportunities - for over 50s

SELNET will help you with advice and support to set up your business through the Building Better Opportunities: Age of Opportunity programme for those aged over 50. 

For more information contact

SELNET - for social enterprises

SELNET offers specialist business advice for social enterprises including starting a business. 

Email or tel 01772 200690.

Visit Preston - Business Blog

Written by local businesses, Visit Preston's Business Blog is a great way of getting inside tips and advice from established businesses across Preston. It is also useful for keeping up to date with local business news.

More useful links

  • Ask About Business is an information service available through Libraries in Lancashire. You can also access business advice and information through COBRA  (Complete Business Reference Adviser) 
  • HMRC has tax help and advice for those starting up and small businesses
  • Start Up Guide - you can download a start up guide from the Start Up Loans website and sign up for useful tips.

  • StartUp Britain is a series of web based resources to help businesses to start and grow including a range of offers from corporate sponsors, events and news.

  • Start Up Donut is an online guide to starting a business from Google and Sage with free advice, tools and resources.
  • The Business Clinic is a Preston-based community interest company (not for profit) run by local businesses for local businesses offering support, events and business surgeries..
  • Start and Grow is an online business resources platform owned and operated by Nwes one of the largest not-for-profit enterprise agencies in the UK.

  • Visit Preston - Invest includes a range of useful information around city development, local investment opportunities and business contacts

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