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Business Support


Rushcliffe Accelerator

Rushcliffe Borough Council are working with East Midlands Chamber to deliver the brand new, free to access Rushcliffe Accelerator business support programme. Businesses in the area to can access a variety of free business support including:

  • 1:1 advice sessions from an experienced business advisor
  • Access to a range of training and workshops
  • Support to access grant funding
  • Energy saving and improvement audits
  • Growth vouchers for up to £2000
  • Help to Grow Management course

To get involved with the Rushcliffe Accelerator programme, simply follow this link, register your interest for free, and a business advisor will be in touch with you!

Business Adviser Surgeries 

Businesses can receive free advice and support from an experienced business adviser at surgeries across the Borough.

The free one-hour in person appointments with expert Insan Farooqi from the East Midlands Chamber can help small to medium sized businesses, start-ups, or residents who are thinking of starting a business.

The consultations are a great first step in the development of a new business, project, or business development initiative and way for business owners and entrepreneurs to find out what support could assist them and help plan their next steps. 

Digital High Street Adviser 

A Digital High Street Adviser is now visiting Rushcliffe businesses  to help them develop their digital offer, give wide ranging business advice and complement their in-person sales at the Borough’s retail premises.

The Council have contracted East Midlands Chamber’s Steve Phillips as one of their experienced Business Advisers to deliver the project in the Borough, courtesy of UK Shared Prosperity Funding (UKSPF).

Steve is now out and about chatting with business owners, listening and exploring how he can assist development of their websites, online marketing and use of social media to aid sales and assist further footfall, as well as opportunities to refer them for fully funded specialist business advice.

The project includes businesses being supported through a set of short ‘how to’ films, guides and webinars that will provide advice on a range of topics and examples of good practice, previously identified as helpful by business owners in other recent Council projects.

Businesses wishing to chat to Steve directly can complete an online expression of interest form over the phone 0330 053 8639 or email

The Digital High Street Adviser project has received £25,000 from the UK Government through the UKSPF.

For more information email

Digital High Street Case Studies

You can find case studies of some of our Rushcliffe businesses and how the digital high street project has helped them here.

Rushcliffe Case Studies Brochure

D2N2 Fund Tracker

The D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership has launched an interactive tool to track UK Government funding announcements. You can access the tracker on the D2N2 website.

Peer Networks

Peer Networks is a national peer-to-peer networking programme for SME leaders that want to grow and develop their organisation for future success.

The programme is delivered through a series of high impact group sessions, with a trained facilitator hosting interactive action learning with small cohorts, a flexible topic selection and one-to-one support.

Further information can be found in the D2N2 Peer Networks Brochure or on the D2N2 Growth Hub website.

D2N2 Skills Access Hub

An extension of the D2N2 Growth Hub, the D2N2 Skills Access Hub will operate as the first point-of-call for SME's with skills provision and training needs.

SMEs can book to speak with one of the experienced Skills Access Hub advisers. During the meeting advisers will undertake a skills assessment to identify any skills gaps training needs. The advisers will then work with you to develop a bespoke Skills Action Plan and connect you to the chosen training or education provider, so you can agree a training and development project tailored to your needs.

Opportunities include but are not limited to:

  • Accredited training courses
  • Apprenticeships ranging from Intermediate, through to Degree level
  • Basic skills qualifications in Maths and English
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
  • Work experience, work placements, traineeships and graduate placements

Further information including how to access this support can be found on the D2N2 Skills Access Hub website.

Small Business Commissioner

The Small Business Commissioner (SBC) provides free help for small businesses suffering late or unfair payments from larger businesses.

They also provide free advice.  This free service is for any small business (under 50 employees) suffering payment problems from their larger business customers (over 50 employees).

The SBC provides advice and information to small businesses on:

  • resolving disputes and dealing with an unpaid invoice
  • checking contracts and getting invoices right
  • signposting small businesses to existing support and dispute resolution services.

So, if you’re struggling with late payments or unfair payment practices, contact their team today via the Small Business Commissioner website.

Futures for Business 

Futures for Business is the skills division of the Futures Group, established to work closer with employers to understand their business and the challenges they face. Futures for Business can offer the following support:

Recruitment: Offer a free recruitment service to attract new or experienced talent to your vacancies. Working in partnership with The National Careers Service and DWP, they have a candidate pool of individuals with a range of skills and abilities. Futures will screen all applicants to match your requirements, conduct telephone and face-to-face interviews, provide feedback at every stage and compile a shortlist of applicant profiles for you to choose from and interview. Find out more on the Futures for Business website.

Workforce Development: We can organise and deliver training to suit your business needs, customised specifically to the day to day duties of the role and funded through the Adult Education Budget. This can support free recruitment campaigns for new staff or funded training programmes for any of your current team with an annual salary of £16,009.50 or less. Find out more on the Futures for Business website.

Apprenticeships: Futures for Business is a registered training provider and can support with hiring new apprentices or upskilling your current workforce with an apprenticeship. If hiring, the Specialist Apprenticeship Recruitment Service designs your job description, advertises your job, sends details to their network of partners and matches the role with their existing talent pool of candidates. Employers are in control of the way they fund apprenticeships and the financial contributions depend on the size of your business and the training you require. Find out more on the Futures for Business website.

Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA): Get all the benefits of taking on an apprentice but in a risk-free and flexible way through the ATA. With Futures for Business' unique employment service, they are the legal employer for the apprentice but they work full time at your business. The decision of who works for you is still yours but the risk, compliance and legal responsibilities sit with Futures for Business for all employment and training obligations. Find out more on the Futures for Business website.

Kickstart Scheme: Futures for Business can also support you with your hiring of a young person through the Kickstart scheme. Which is a government scheme providing funding to create new 6-month job placements for young people for up to 25 hours a week. 100% of the wages and contributions are covered by the government and employers get £1500 to help with recruitment and training costs. Contact Futures for Business and they can guide you through the process and help find your ideal candidate for the placement.

Energy for Business Grant Re-opens for Applications

Planning an energy related project or need to purchase new equipment to grow your business? You can apply for 40% of the cost from the Energy for Business grant fund, an EU funded project delivered by the Energy Innovation and Collaboration team at the University of Nottingham.

Successful applicants can receive up to £8k (maximum project cost of £20k). This capital grant is for businesses who want to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions or who are implementing sustainable energy technologies. To be successful, businesses must be classified as SME, based in the D2N2 region and be able to demonstrate a low-carbon element to their project. Find out more about the grant scheme on the University of Nottingham website.

Export Department 

The Export Department, provides help for businesses via mixture of coaching and 'hands-on' support, uniquely tailored to participating businesses.

GRADS for D2N2

The GRADS for D2N2 project provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire with a complete package of free and subsidised support to help you benefit from graduate talent in the region.

Whether you're an SME looking to recruit local graduates, or you're keen to see how graduate and high-level skills could support your business in different ways, this project can help you access the support, advice and funding to plug skills gaps, achieve more, and grow your business.

Find out more on the Nottingham Trent University website.

The Big House CDI Grant 

The Big House is the name of the Creative and Digital Industries D2N2 Consortium for increased SME Competitiveness Project. With CDI standing for Creative and Digital Industries. The grant supports businesses in the creative and digital industries sector within Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. To be eligible, you should be able to say YES to these:

  • Currently trading or ready to start trading
  • You sell business to business or business to customer (service only, NOT retail)
  • Your business is based in Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire 
  • You are a SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) 
  • Your business is registered to Companies House or HMRC

Grants of between £1,000 and £2,500 are available for a maximum of 25% of the project cost. For example, a project spend of £4,000 would be eligible for a maximum grant of £1,000 and a £10,000 project could receive a £2,500 grant. 

Apply and get more information

Productivity Through Innovation

Delivered in partnership between Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham and the University of Derby. The programme focuses on improving the performance of businesses involved and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Productivity through innovation (PTI) allows businesses to access a broad range of funding, services and support to improve their productivity and their market competitiveness. SME's will be able to work with academic experts and access industry standard facilities across campuses. Grant funding is also available for 20% of a graduates salary for up to 12 months, to work on a specific productivity based project.

For more information head to the NTU website.

Rural Payments and Grants 

The RDPE growth programme grant provides money for projects to improve agriculture, the environment and rural life. Funding goes to schemes which improve the environment, increase the productivity of farming and forestry or grow the rural economy. Businesses could be eligible for an RDPE grant if your business is carrying out a project to create jobs or bring more money into the rural economy.

There are 3 types of grant:

  • Business development
  • Food processing
  • Rural tourism infrastructure

 For more information and to download handbooks specific to each type of grant, head to the Government website.

Nottingham Trent University - The Hive

The Hive is NTU's purpose built centre for entrepreneurship and enterprise. They can help turn your business idea into reality through the support network, mentoring and training programmes. Since 2001 the Hive has helped more than 400 start-up companies with support such as; Training programmes, mentoring, guidance and advice, first class office facilities and potential routes to funding opportunities, grants and useful events. Find out more on the NTU website.

University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham offer various programmes to help businesses connect, collaborate and innovate. This includes collaborative funding, recruitment of students and graduates, development of your workforce, access to their research, knowledge and inventions, as well as facilities to base your business from, host meetings and access equipment. More information is on the University of Nottingham, working with business page.

NBV Support for businesses

NBV provides support for start-up businesses based in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Greater Lincolnshire. Visit the NBV website here 

Looking to start your own business? The Nottinghamshire Start-Up Bootcamp can help you transform your idea into a
business. The two-day online workshop has dates from December 2023 to March 2024.

Skills support for the workforce 

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP area are urged to take advantage of a £16.74m skills training fund to upskill their workforce. 

The training is delivered as part of a programme called Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW), which Sercos Employment, Skills & Enterprise business is managing across the D2N2 region. Under the 28-month programme which launched in April, Serco will work in partnership with the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to provide skills development that focuses on upskilling employees in key priority sectors as identified in the LEPs strategic economic plan; 

  • Transport equipment manufacturing 
  • Life Sciences 
  • Food and drink manufacturing 
  • Visitor economy 
  • Low carbon 
  • Transport and logistics 
  • Creative and digital industries
  • Construction

Businesses can contact Serco on or visit the Serco website for more details and to find out if they are eligible for funded training through Skills Support for the Workforce.

D2N2 Support 

The D2N2 Growth Hub provides businesses in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire with a single point of access to business support. Visit the D2N2 Growth Hub website

Exporting is GREAT

If you are a small business invested in or currently selling overseas visit GREAT for guidance on exporting, access live export opportunities, find an online marketplace to sell your products overseas and access the right finance and insurance to help you win vital international contracts.

The Department for International Trade can also help with understanding the UK-EU trade agreement and how it affects you, reporting of trade barriers and contacting an international trade adviser.

Rushcliffe Borough Council does not endorse, promote, review, or warrant the accuracy of the schemes or information provided by external parties and no liability is accepted arising from reliance upon the information accessed via this site.