We have put together a handy list of organisations that provide business support relating to a variety of issues ranging from intellectual property (IP) to funding. Many of the resources can be accessed free of charge by anyone, but some of the programmes and funding opportunities are only available to UK businesses.


Intellectual Property Office (IPO)

The IPO provides a wealth of information about all forms of IP and how to protect them. It has also developed a range of free tools, guidance and teaching resources on how to understand, manage and exploit IP, including

  • An IP Health Check tool to help you identify your IP assets and provide you with the next steps on how to protect them.
  • The Lambert toolkit for collaborative research agreements.


European Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Helpdesk

Whilst this helpdesk is primarily aimed at beneficiaries of EU funded research projects and EU SMEs involved in transnational partnership agreements, many of the resources on IP, particularly the library, are free for anyone to access.


Business & IP Centre

The British Library’s Business & IP Centre is an information hub for those looking to start or grow their business. It offers a range of resources and services, including webinars, workshops and master classes, many of which are free to attend. Two types of specialised Innovating for Growth programmes are currently available:

  • A two day course for start-ups
  • A three-month programme providing over £10,000 worth of specialist advice for SMEs with growth ambitions


Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency which supports UK businesses and academic organisations to test ideas and develop innovative products and services. Innovate UK provides inter alia the following:

  • Funding advice and competitions
  • Events
  • Innovation support, e.g. via the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) or Enterprise Europe Network (EEN)


Design Council

The Design Council is a charity and is recognised as a leading authority on the use of strategic design. They use design as a strategic tool to drive economic growth and innovation.

  • Business support offered includes master classes, coaching and skills training
  • Design Council Spark is a support and funding programme designed to help turn bright idea into a commercially successful product.


Exporting is great

This is a UK government website providing guidance on how to trade internationally.


The Catapult Programme

The Catapult centres are a network of world-leading centres designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in specific areas and help drive future economic growth.

  • Cell and Gene Therapy
  • Compound Semiconductor Applications
  • Offshore Renewable Energy
  • Precision Medicine



Nesta is an innovation foundation which provides many useful resources, including:

  • An overview of UK incubators and accelerators
  • Information on funding provided by Nesta and by other organisations