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Practical assistance for self-employment

UWE Bristol Enterprise offer information, guidance, funding, a range of support programmes, events, activities and even desk space to help you set up and run your own business.

Careers Toolkit

Access resources, tips and tools to help you develop your business ideas via the Business Start-up section in the Careers Toolkit

One-to-one appointments

We offer coaching and guidance on topics such as early start-up planning, sign posting to resources, information on our funding sources, support programmes and other opportunities. You can book an initial appointment through the careers information and application help appointments.

The Factory

The Factory is a UWE Bristol Enterprise incubator and hot-desking space based in the Employability and Enterprise Zone (Room 2D11, Frenchay Campus). This gives budding entrepreneurs a safe space to confidently develop their ideas and helps to encourage peer to peer development and networking. If you would like to apply for space within The Factory, please submit your enquiry via My Questions.

Frequently asked questions

How do I register a business?

Visit the Companies House website to learn more about company types and how to register your business.

How do I register as self-employed?

If you want to become self-employed, you need to register with HMRC for a Unique Tax Reference number. This can be done via the HM Revenue and Customs online form and can take three to six weeks to arrive in the post.

How do I protect my idea?

Legal protection includes trademarks, copyright, patents, designs, and trade secrets. See the Intellectual Property Office website for information on how to protect your idea. If you share intricate details of your idea with anyone, make sure they sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Tax, national insurance, business records and expenses

Try this HMRC e-learning course to learn more about tax, national insurance, business records or expenses.

Help and advice from external organisations

Whatever your journey, invaluable help and advice is available from the organisations below:

General support

  • Outset Bristol – a free interactive online learning platform that offers resources and tools to support you on your business start-up journey.
  • The Prince's Trust – a useful advice on self-employment and potential funding for young people.
  • NESTA – National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts: Provides funding for early-stage companies.
  • BRAVE – a not-for-profit organisation based in Bristol which provides support to start-up businesses.

Social enterprise support

  • Social Enterprise Works – expert guidance, support and training to help your social enterprise grow, develop and succeed.
  • GoodLab – GoodLab is an experimental project that brings together social entrepreneurs and Bristol universities. We are creating an ecosystem of support and exchange between social ventures and research that will enable greater impact, together.
  • Bristol and Bath Social Enterprise Network – a local social enterprise network.
  • UnLtd – UnLtd is the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK and offers the largest such network in the world. UnLtd resources hundreds of individuals each year through its core Awards programme.

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