business support services

We have highlighted the below support services who are able to give you advice on your business needs on marketing, mentoring, social media and links to Europe and beyond.

If you wish to discuss your business requirements further, contact the Dorset Gateway and we can point you in the right direction.


Dorset Growth Hub

The mission of the Dorset Growth Hub is to support businesses that want to grow, increase employment, improve the competitiveness of Dorset businesses and encourage inward investment to the county. Their specialists provide guidance and information on all aspects of business, including taking your first steps in the commercial world, how to find the right finance, and making best use of today’s digital marketing tools. 

Silicon South

Silicon South is an ambitious, not for profit organisations dedicated to accelerating the Digital Economy in Dorset.

As an organisation SiSo delivers projects, manages investment, nurtures new talent, and encourages cross-industry collaboration to make Dorset the best place for digital and creative organisations to thrive. As a place Silicon South is a bustling economy of passionate and motivated digital and creative organisations who punch well above their weight on a global scale. A hot bed for start-ups, scale-ups and multinationals to set up, thrive and expand.


Outset is a uniquely versatile programme that helps people start up and supports them through the first two years. A combination of workshops on specific essential topics, such as social media; sales; finance; marketing. As well as 1-2-1 support with your advisor to tackle your individual needs and challenges to develop a successful business along with how best to finance it.


SWMAS designs and delivers programmes of support that enable ambitious businesses to increase their productivity, improve operational efficiency, develop skills and reach their growth potential.

Innovate UK EDGE

Innovate UK EDGE is a key part of the UK innovation agency’s investment in businesses that drive economic growth. It complements Innovate UK project funding with intensive, specialist-led support for high-potential ambitious businesses who benefit from the objective perspective of a dedicated innovation and growth specialist local to them.  Each specialist considers the business in the round and, working closely with its leadership, identifies the most productive ways to accelerate growth.

Innovate UK Edge specialists can also support businesses through a range of additional programmes, events, and access to innovation & international networks - as well as other expert colleagues.

 Find out more here.

Dorset Chamber - International Trade

Dorset Chamber's International Trade Team can support with exporting queries and documentation for export.

Dorset Business Mentors

Dorset Business Mentors provide one-to-one mentoring support, skills workshops, and a mutually supportive community for small businesses across Dorset, including Bournemouth and Poole. Founded in 2005 they are one of the most established mentoring programmes in the UK, at any one time working with around about 160 clients, a number that is increasing all the time. Our clients range from sole traders to medium sized companies across all sectors.

Dorset Business Mentors have an exceptional team of over 100 male and female volunteer mentors who are very experienced business people in their own right, whether owning or having built their own successful business or coming from senior management positions. The programme includes 1:1 mentoring on a renewable annual basis providing high quality, professional and confidential support through any stage of the business journey, including developing exit strategies and planning for retirement and hand-over.

Commercial Property Database

If you are a start up or an established business looking to expand or relocate, Property Pilot has the ability to search for available commercial properties in Dorset.

Dorset Food and Drink

Dorset Food and Drink work with their members’ businesses to support them and to help them get their food and drink businesses seen, known and experienced by consumers here in Dorset and beyond.


Konfer is an online innovation brokerage tool designed to help businesses access funding opportunities and the wealth of research, researchers and services in UK universities and research organisations. It is free to use, and once registered, users can post collaboration requests which are shared directly with all UK universities. Developed, operated and managed by the National Centre of Universities and Business (NCUB) in partnership with Research England and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Konfer is open to all UK businesses, charities, research and technology organisations, universities, academics and individuals.

National Business Support Helpline

You can contact the government’s Business Support Helpline for free advice.

Business Support Helpline (England)

Telephone: 0800 998 1098

Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm

Office of the Small Business Commissioner

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) is an independent public body appointed by the government under the Enterprise Act 2019 to tackle late payment and poor payment practice in the private sector of the UK.

The Small Business Commissioner operates a complaints scheme where he can investigate complaints from Small Businesses (a company with less than 50 employees) who are experiencing payment issues with larger business (a company with more than 50 employees) and make non legally binding recommendations for the resolution of payment disputes. Where the Commissioner considers appropriate, he may publish a report about the circumstances of the complaint. This may include identification of the parties involved in the complaint.

There are specific rules in relation to the types of complaint the Commissioner can assist with. These include the complaint must relate to late or non-payment by a larger business to a smaller business, the dispute must not be contractual and the dispute must not be subject to or have been previously determined via the court process. However, where complaints fall outside the legal scope of the Commissioners complaint scheme, we will still do as much as we can to resolve the dispute including signpost to relevant alternative existing support and dispute resolution services.

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner can also assist small businesses by checking contracts and providing advice on getting invoices right. We are independent but appointed by government, impartial and free to use on a non-risk basis.

For more information, please visit the SBC website.

Sage interactive tool for startups

Sage’s new interactive start-up tool distils all the vital elements of starting a new business into the most important six steps to take when getting underway, from finding financial support and creating a business plan, through to getting your costs under control and managing your taxes.

You can find out more here: Six-Step Guide to starting a business