Invest in advice

Invest in advice

Invest in advice today

Good independent financial advice throughout your business journey is invaluable. If you do invest in advice, you will quickly discover that advisers have experience of many businesses, whereas entrepreneurs may just have experience of the one they are in.

Government sources of information

Business is Great website links to key sources of advice for businesses looking to grow, export and recruit.

The government’s business and self-employment section presents advice on starting, running, growing and financing a business, with an accompanying helpline available on:

  • telephone: 0300 456 3565
  • textphone: +44 (0)20 8742 8620.

The finance and support finder provides details on publicly supported finance, advice schemes, grants and loans.

The government’s Intellectual Property Office offers comprehensive guidance on using intellectual property to raise finance in its ‘IP Finance Toolkit’.

Business mentoring

Investment readiness may be the goal, but before a robust business plan can be prepared, the business may need access to knowledge and information so it can make the right finance choices.

Business mentors have both practical experience and a network of contacts to help businesses make the right choices. A mentor acts as an independent sounding board for ideas, provides guidance and support from a different perspective, and directs the business to the right areas for appropriate help.

Business coaching

Coaching can help a business produce its business strategy and financial plan. prepare_business_planPresentation training is extremely useful in helping management present the company and their plans in the best possible light. It prepares them for the rigorous scrutiny of those plans by potential lenders or investors. At this stage, an adviser would be comfortable introducing the company to a network of investors or lenders. Many independent advisory firms offer mentoring services.

Accelerators and incubators

There are now many business accelerators across the UK, which can be a valuable resource for start-ups. There are many different types of an accelerator, often supported by the EU, national or local government, academic organisations and large businesses. An accelerator provides advice, mentoring, practical and technical support to groups of new ventures often in return for a small equity stake in the business. Some accelerators will also invest equity capital or convertible loans. Others may take an option to acquire an equity stake at a later date.

Incubators are similar to accelerators – and mainly work in the science and technology sectors. These are ‘co-working’ spaces, where early-stage businesses are given guidance when developing concepts into commercial projects, whether they have been independently developed or spun out of academic, government or commercial organisations.

Regional Support

Find out more about the advice and support provided at a regional level.

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The Enterprise Europe Network

The Enterprise Europe Network helps SMEs make the most of business opportunities in the EU and beyond. Its many services are offered free of charge by 600 member organisations, including chambers of commerce and industry, technology centres, universities and development agencies.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency, and provides networking collaboration and funding opportunities, business-led innovation and R&D.

Innovate UK’s Smart funding scheme provides grants for start-ups and SMEs to help them develop their innovations – from proof-of-market through to proof-of-concept and on to prototype development. It provides grants of up to £250,000 per project.

Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) brings together businesses, entrepreneurs, academics and investors to network, collaborate and share information and ideas about innovative new products, processes and services. The KTN’s teams cover all significant sectors of the economy, from defence and aerospace to the creative industries, the built environment to biotechnology and robotics.


Mentors Me is an internet-based mentoring gateway linking UK businesses who are looking for a mentor with over 27,000 mentors. The British Bankers Association manages the portal, working with its mentoring partners and more than 1,000 volunteer bank mentors offering expertise in financial support.

All mentors can be accessed through the website.

Creative Industries

For businesses in the arts, cultural and creative sector that are seeking funding and investment, the ICAEW has published Creative Industries – Routes to Finance, with 52 organisations.



ELITE is a London Stock Exchange programme and platform which facilitates engagement between private growth businesses, corporate advisers, investors and business leaders.

The 18-month programme helps businesses with organisational review and change; executing the planned change; and accessing new business opportunities and funding. To be eligible for application, companies must: generate at least £5m in revenues; be able to demonstrate growth prospects; and require external investment.


ICAEW Business Advice Service

ICAEW’s Business Advice Service offers help to businesses like yours across England, Scotland and Wales to overcome the challenges they face, including:

  • how to grow a business
  • securing loans, capital and finance
  • keeping staff and creating new jobs
  • meeting tax and regulatory requirements
  • export planning
  • planning for long-term sustainable growth
  • debt management
  • legal issues.

Businesses are offered a free advice session with an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. Visit to find the nearest office participating in the scheme.

Together on the journey

Access to the right kind of finance at every stage in your growth journey enables businesses like yours to invest, grow and create jobs. That’s why the British Business Bank and ICAEW’s Corporate Finance Faculty, and partner organisations representing finance and business, have created the business finance guide.

> Find out more about our partners

The Business Finance Guide

Download our comprehensive guide in PDF format allowing you to print and read at your leisure.