Business support

South Cambridgeshire is a business friendly region. Not only because of the assets the area has in terms of proximity to Cambridge, an enviable commercial base from world class companies to small and emerging businesses together with space, talent and good communications; but most importantly because the local authority is tuned-in to the business community and committed to providing meaningful support to both new and existing businesses.

The approach to business support is set  out within the Council’s Economic Development Strategy (2011). Support is provided directly by the council, in conjunction with partners and through partners. Examples of this support provided directly by the Council include hardship rate relief funding, business support initiatives (e.g. workshops, broadband delivery) and the Step-Up competition for new businesses.

Rate Relief – in addition to the government’s small business rate relief scheme administered by the Council, South Cambridgeshire has funded a Business Rates Hardship scheme as a part of £150,000 expenditure to help local firms weather the economic downturn.

Assessment of business rates and qualification for relief is a complex area and measures are updated on a regular basis. South Cambridge District Council’s website carries the essential information. For more details or to talk about your business specifically, please ring the Council Rate relief Team on (01954) 713 112.

Business Workshops and Support – The Council runs free business workshops on a regular basis providing a valuable conduit of information to businesses large and small. The Council’s Business Support Fund has also provided assistance to companies most at risk from a slowing economy with good results.

 This assistance has aided businesses facing more difficult times to access right support. The programme was so successful that it was extended to deliver  training to various economic sectors across subjects such as retailing, marketing and online.

Step-Up Competition - Together with a group of private sector sponsors South Cambridgeshire District Council runs the Step-Up Competition, a competition designed to help new businesses get off the ground. The 2011 competition was won by Cambridge Superfoods who have now launched successfully.

The above initiatives along with the development of the Cambridge Plus website reflect business support commitments made in the recently published Economic Development Strategy for South Cambridgeshire. Below you can find details of some of further business support available from partners and other organisations who exist to help support businesses in the region.

Department for Business Innovation & Skills -
Find out about business
HM Revenue and Customs -
Business Link in the East of England -
Online business support services. From start-up through to sector specific support, including information on finance, business planning and more.
St. John’s Innovation Centre -
St John’s Innovation Centre provides early stage knowledge-based companies with business advice, strategic consultancy, introductions and flexible accommodation. It was the first innovation centre of its kind in Europe and has become world-renowned for its success as a business incubator.
Enterprising Woman -
Their goal is to:  increase the numbers, sustainability and success of women in business.
Manufacturing Advisory Service -
MAS is designed to help manufacturers, streamline processes, reduce waste, become more energy efficient and generally improve and grow their business.
Regardless of the size of the business, experienced and highly skilled advisors can help you. They all have 'hands-on' experience of both shop floor working and management skills.
Resource Efficiency East -
Resource Efficiency East is a specialist provider of the Improving Your Resource Efficiency product. It delivers guidance and support on how businesses in the East of England can reduce the use of resources; water, energy and materials and achieve financial savings as a result.
Social Enterprise East of England -
A network dedicated to keeping individuals and businesses abreast of the latest developments in the social enterprise sector, both regionally and nationally.
Anglia Ruskin University -
Anglia Ruskin’s business development management team work with organisations on knowledge transfer: the process of turning technology, know-how, expertise and skills into innovative, commercial products and services.

Access to Finance -

Technology Strategy Board  -

Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s national innovation agency. Their goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.  The Technology Strategy Board is driven by wanting to bring new ideas and technology to market. 

To deliver our objective of helping to drive business innovation in the UK, the Technology Strategy Board has a number of mechanisms and tools available.

Some are programmes which were initially established by Government departments and are now being managed and developed by the Technology Strategy Board. We also provide the route for UK businesses to access European support for innovation and technology. This includes grant funding for Research and Development.

Delivery mechanisms currently include:

  • Knowledge Transfer Networks
  • Collaborative research and development
  • Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships -

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) supports UK businesses wanting to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance by accessing the knowledge and expertise available within UK Universities and Colleges

Catapults   -

Catapults are a rapidly growing network of seven technology and innovation centres, established and overseen by the Technology Strategy Board with over £200 million of government investment.

University of Cambridge  -

Cambridge University works with many business partners, the objective being to transform ideas into ground-breaking applications and products. Collaborations range from research projects and enterprise initiatives through to recruitment and
the provision of executive and professional development courses.

Foundation East -

Foundation East

The Foundation’s vision is to increase prosperity and quality of life by providing finance to viable businesses that have been refused bank finance and to facilitate the creation of Community Land Trusts in the East of England.

Low Carbon Venture Capital Fund  -

Low Carbon Venture FundThe fund will make early-stage equity investments into small and medium sized enterprises ("SMEs") within the East of England that are developing new and innovative products or processes in a low carbon, environmentally sensitive manner.

The definition of low carbon companies also includes companies producing low carbon products, supplying low carbon services or companies seeking to invest in low carbon equipment or processes to become low carbon in their operational activities. This could include those developing alternative energy sources or reducing existing carbon emissions amongst others.

Rural Economy Grant Scheme  -

A new government scheme that enables rural businesses can apply for grants of between £25,000 and £1m, the objective being to support the businesses in increasing competitiveness and profits.

Institute for Manufacturing Education and Consultancy Services (IfM-ECS) -

The institute provides a rapid dissemination route for new ideas and approaches developed at the IfM. Industrial practitioners, with many years of senior management experience, engage directly with industry, governments and other agencies via consultancy, executive education and events. Our approach is very different to conventional consultancy, involving working collaboratively to co-develop solutions, often based on IfM research outputs, and focusing on transferring knowledge as well as delivering business results. Engagements help to both inform and fund future IfM research.

Business Coaching for GrowthA service enabling high growth potential business to reach higher and further.


Mentorsme connects companies with mentoring organisations that can support and guide their growth.

Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership -

The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership aims to help drive forward sustainable economic growth  – with local business, education providers, the third sector and the public sector.  The LEP aims to achieve an economy with 100,000 major businesses and create 160,000 new jobs by 2025. 

Department for Business Information and Skills -

Partner providing important business support across intiatives like the Regional Growth Fund inm tis role of investing in skills, promoting trade and helping to drive growth.

Cambridgeshire Chambers of

A business membership organisation that brings together companies of all sectors and sizes to promote mutually-beneficial working relationships and provide a platform for members to develop their business and become increasingly successful at what they do.

Federation of Small Businesses -

Federation of Small BusinessesThe Federation of Small Businesses is the UK's largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms.


Cambridge NetworkCambridge Network is a membership organisation bringing people together from business and academia to meet each other and share ideas, encouraging collaboration and partnership for shared success.

Institute of

Institute of DirectorsThe Institute of Directors is Europe's largest membership organisation for business leaders.


One Nucleus -

One NucleusOne Nucleus is a membership organisation for international life science and healthcare companies based in Cambridge and London, the heart of Europe’s largest life science and healthcare cluster.

Cambridge Clean

Cambridge Clean TechA members’ organisation supporting the growth of environmental goods and services or ‘cleantech’ companies in Greater Cambridge and beyond.


Confederation of British Industries -

Positioned as the UK's top business lobbying organisation, the CBI aims to influence government, policymakers and legislators in order to get the best deal for business at home and abroad.

National Farmers UnionThe NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its Farmer and Grower members.


Conutry and Land and Business AssociationThe CLA is the membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales.

The development of the ‘Cambridge phenomenon’ has mixed UK expertise and skills with those from overseas. International inwards investment levels have been and continue to be above average for the East of England region and the country as a whole.

Businesses have established bases here for the UK and for Europe and not only benefitted from the location but also from the progressive approach of business parks that have enabled them to source the space they need with options for development and growth.

This significant investment has not only added to the prosperity and skills base of the Cambridge Plus region, but is has also added immeasurable to the cultural landscape of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire as new people have embraced the quality of life the area offers.

South Cambridgeshire District Council works closely with the new Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to facilitate inwards investment from other areas of the UK and internationally.

For further information contact Steve Clarke Partnership Manager at UKTI on 07557 490300 or by email at [email protected]