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Business Support

Here you will find further information on external business support services including exporting, research & development, business liability insurance and registering for VAT


Being More Productive

Be the Business is an independent, not-for-profit movement. We’re here to help every firm in the country improve their own performance, and the performance of those they work with.

Business liability insurance

Being an employer means a business must have employers’ liability insurance, with a minimum cover of £5m. Having Employers Liability Insurance will cover the business against claims of compensation in the event of injury or illness of employees.

Under the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, it is a requirement that the insurance is provided by an authorised insurer. This list can be found on

Compliance and Regulation

Better Business for All (BBfA) is a collaboration between business and regulators to enable simpler and more consistent compliance with relevant regulation, ultimately leading to a safer and more profitable society.


The Department for International Trade (DIT) provides expert international trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies who want to grow their business overseas.

The DIT provides tailored support packages for companies who are:

  • First time exporters (FTEs)
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • Medium-sized businesses (MSBs)

It also provides other services, including digital and online support that can help all types of business.

Generosity Bank

Generosity Bank is an online self-service platform that enables small businesses to connect with local professionals in their area who are willing to use their professional work-place skills to help out on a short term and one-off voluntary basis.

All you have to do is register on the site, then create a Placement post with the details of the help you require and you’ll receive an email when a volunteer is interested.

Knowledge Transfer Network

The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) helps businesses get the best out of creativity, ideas and the latest discoveries, to strengthen the UK economy and improve people’s lives.

KTN is a network partner of Innovate UK.

Patents and Trade Marks

Intellectual Property Office

What intellectual property is:

Having the right type of intellectual property protection helps you to stop people stealing or copying:

  • the names of your products or brands
  • your inventions
  • the design or look of your products
  • things you write, make or produce

Copyright, patents, designs and trade marks are all types of intellectual property protection. You get some types of protection automatically, others you have to apply for.

Research, Development & Innovation

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.

Innovate UK works to:

  • Determine which science and technology developments will drive future economic growth
  • Meet UK innovators with great ideas in the fields we’re focused on
  • Fund the strongest opportunities
  • Connect innovators with the right partners they need to succeed
  • Help our innovators launch, build and grow successful businesses

Small Business provides advice and useful guides to UK sole traders and small businesses.


Visit Britain – Business Advice Hub

Helping your tourism business to grow – with practical tips, legal obligations and local support

When do I need to be VAT registered?

Once your business reaches a VAT taxable turnover, you need to register for VAT. The threshold is the total of everything you sell that isn’t exempt from VAT reaching more than £82,000 in a rolling 12-month period.

If you’re unsure if you have reached the threshold in a 12-month period, total up the following items to check:

  • Goods hired or loaned to customers
  • Business goods used for personal reasons
  • Goods that you have bartered, part-exchanged or given as gifts
  • Services received from other countries that you had to reverse charge
  • If you completed building works for the business yourself that exceeded £100,000

Following from the date of registration, you will need to ensure that your business charges the correct amount for VAT as well as submit VAT returns within the correct times and make payments accordingly.

Although you are not able to charge businesses VAT on your invoices until your VAT number is allocated, you will need to advise HMRC of VAT spend during this period.