Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Business Start-Ups

Starting a business isn't easy - it's a great challenge so it's a good idea to get all the help you can. Business and Learning can help you to find out all you need to know to get you started. We have a special "New and Small Business" collection of resources with a wealth of practical information for you to consult.

Business Forms | Business Opportunities | Business Plans | Company Formation | Company Name Checks | Factsheets | Grants | Managing your Business | Marketing | Patents

Business Opportunities

Have you got an idea for a business or would you like some inspiration?

Business and Learning can offer you comprehensive information on starting and running hundreds of specific types of businesses. Fact sheets are available from COBRA.

We also have books on running various types of businesses and an excellent selection of information on franchising and franchise opportunities. These resources are available for you to use here and staff will be on hand to guide you to those most appropriate for your purposes.

Contact Business and Learning for further details.

Business Plans

A good business plan focuses the mind as well as helping to secure finance and support for starting a business. It should clarify the main business idea and define long-term objectives, providing a blueprint for running the business and a series of benchmarks to check your progress against. Many potential start-up businesses are daunted by the prospect of compiling a business plan, but it need not be an intimidating process. You will need to do some detailed market research on different markets and possible competitors. You may also need fact sheets on how to present financial forecasts, find out if any grants are currently available, and whether there is any relevant training or any qualifications required for the type of business you wish to start, and regulations to comply with.

  • Business and Learning has resources to help you with all of this. A wide selection of books is available for you to consult, giving advice and guidance on writing your business plan. Also -
  • Business Plan Software advice on how to complete the plan together with a template which can be downloaded on to disc for you to take away for a nominal fee.
  • COBRA A Guide to Writing a Business Plan. Print off a copy to take away
  • DIRECTORS BRIEFINGS Information and advice factsheets on many aspects of running a business.


Factsheets from various databases are available for you to use free of charge in Business and Learning and 40 community libraries across Birmingham. Examples include

  • COBRA - Complete Business Reference Advisor an online subscription service available in Business Insight. These fact sheets provide concise, informative and practical guides to 360 key management issues faced by owners and managers of newly started or existing businesses. Topics covered include Finance, Personnel, IT, Exporting, Health and Safety, Legislation, Starting a Business, Marketing and Premises.

    Raising Finance for Inventors

     PDF (Size: 61.0 Kb Type: pdf )

    Electoral Register

     PDF (Size: 3.19 Mb Type: PDF )

    Becoming a Sole Trader

     PDF (Size: 58.6 Kb Type: pdf )


It may be possible to obtain a grant to help finance your business and there is a substantial amount of assistance available to small business. Some grants are reliant upon either jobs being created or investment in new plant and machinery. Others have no restrictions whatsoever and are available purely by making a simple application.

In the case of a business start-up the overriding principle for obtaining grants and other forms of financial assistance is that you must make your application, and have the assistance agreed before you start your business. Unfortunately many businesses miss out because they do not follow this simple rule.

Visit Business and Learning to establish what is available and how to apply. Resources available include

  • GRANTFINDER - the UKs most comprehensive grant and loan database
  • COBRA Complete Business Reference Advisor.
  • bestforbusiness has many links to grant advice, grant portals and West Midlands grants.
  • Leaflets from major national and local organisations offering financial help to businesses.

Contact Business and Learning for basic details or our fee based service for a search tailored to your needs.

Managing your Business

Running a successful business requires an enormous range of business skills.

Business and Learning can help you to gain the necessary skills through various excellent fact sheets on our website bestforbusiness.com and also those produced by COBRA.

Our New and Small Business and management textbooks and journals are an excellent resource on all the practical aspects of running a business and include, general and executive management, human resources, advertising, marketing, quality, bookkeeping and finance for small businesses. Visit Business and Learning to browse through these resources.

Contact Business and Learning for further details.


The theory and practice of marketing covers many activities including

  • Market Research
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Selling
  • Advertising and Promotion
  • Product Design and Development
  • Financial Projections and Control Methods

Contact Business and Learning for further details.