There are many agencies and various support mechanisms available to businesses in the area - some business-led and privately organised, others offered by regional and national agencies.
As the economic development company for the area, Reading UK CIC is well placed to help with queries that are not just connected with access to finance or improving your skills base, but will help if you are thinking of relocating your business to the area, or thinking of expansion.
Business Link is the government's online resource for businesses. It is now enhanced with new, easy-to-use tools to help you start up, improve and grow your business: https://www.gov.uk/business
Start Up Britain provides a host of information, support and inspiration whether you’re thinking about starting a new business or your business is growing. http://www.startupbritain.org
Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVBLEP)
TVBLEP pulls together key players representing education, employment and skills, SME and corporate enterprises, local authorities and the community sector – all working together to bring about a plan that will deliver economic prosperity for the next 20–30 years. http://www.thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk/
Federation of Small Businesses
The Federation of Small Businesses is the UK's largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms. Formed in 1974, it now has around 200,000 members across 33 regions and 194 branches. In Reading & West Berkshire it has around 1400 members. The branch committee works to support local small businesses and to actively promote the interests of small businesses to local authorities, MPs and other decision makers. Visit their website here
Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group is a membership organisation which promotes and lobbies for business development in the Thames Valley. With over 2500 members, it is one of the largest accredited Chambers in the UK. http://www.thamesvalleychamber.co.uk/
Institute of Directors
The Berkshire branch is one of the liveliest in the region with a programme of events throughout the year designed to educate and entertain. http://www.iod.com/connecting/local-networks/south/berkshire
Confederation of British Industry
The CBI's mission is to help create and sustain the conditions in which businesses in the United Kingdom can compete and prosper for the benefit of all. For more information go to their website.
The Angel CoFund.The £100m Business Angel Co Investment Fund (Angel CoFund) was launched in November 2011. The fund has been created with a grant from the Regional Growth Fund and invests alongside business angel syndicates from across England.The fund has been designed and established by a consortium of private and public bodies with expertise in business angel investment. It is a private sector body with clear objectives to boost the quality and quantity of business angel investing in England, and to support long-term, high quality jobs in growing companies.
The UK Business Angels Association is the national trade association dedicated to promoting angel investing and supporting early stage investment in the UK.UKBAA works to create an ecosystem to help support the industry through bringing together angel networks, private investors, early stage funds and professional advisors. http://www.ukbusinessangelsassociation.org.uk/
The Aspire Fund aims to increase the number of successful women-led businesses within the UK, ensuring that those with real potential to succeed are not held back through a lack of growth capital. The Aspire Fund’s co-investment approach aims to extend the range of companies that can be supported with the capital available, as well as meeting requirements for State Aid. The Fund will provide up to 50% of funding for any one investment, alongside other private investors. http://www.capitalforenterprise.gov.uk/files/Aspire%20Fund.pdf
Finance Fitness aims to ensure small and medium sized businesses find it easier to access the finance they need.http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/enterprise-and-business-support/access-to-finance/finance-fitness
The FSE Group is an award-winning Fund Management organisation delivering a range of debt and equity growth finance solutions and support to innovative small and medium enterprises across all sectors since 2002 to successfully deliver growth impact: according to an independent economic impact survey, FSE supported companies grew by 34% compared to an average growth rate of 7.8% across the South East. http://thefsegroup.com/
Venture Giant is the premier UK business angel investment network & small business
funding portal that matches serious and active business angel investors with entrepreneurs’ seeking investment capital and business funding to start-up their new venture or expand their existing business. http://www.venturegiant.com/
The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s national innovation agency. Our goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. http://www.innovateuk.org/
Business Growth Fund’s mission is to unlock the potential of fast-growing UK businesses that need long-term capital to drive their future success. We are looking for companies that have robust and realistic expansion plans, with the flair, business acumen and desire to reach for new heights. In the current economic climate, Business Growth Fund offers a tremendously exciting opportunity for UK companies. BGF is about more than just financial investment and returns. We are offering a collaborative approach to financing growth, working closely with the companies in which we invest.
If you need growth finance of around £2 million - £10 million we may be able to help. http://www.businessgrowthfund.co.uk/
Mentorsme connects companies with mentoring organisations that can support and guide their growth. If you are a business that needs support or a business professional who can offer support, we can help you connect with each other. www.mentorsme.co.uk
Get Mentoring is an initiative to unlock, train and support a community of enterprise mentors across the UK. Our aim is to recruit and train thousands of mentors from the micro, small and medium-sized business community. www.getmentoring.org