Starting up

New and pre-start businesses will find useful information on this page.
If your business is already established and looking to grow, or if you need help firming up your business idea, bringing your product to market, recruiting staff, and much more, head to our support and advice page for more detailed information and useful links.

Self employment and starting a business

What you need to do to set up depends on your type of business, where you work and whether you take on people to help.
Find out more

Free market pitches for start-ups

Free pitches/studio space available for first two months of trading – Assembly Rooms Emporium (indoor market in Lancaster)

Anyone who can bring something different to the Assembly Rooms Emporium is invited to trade in the market hall for free for two months. The Assembly Rooms Emporium provides the perfect backdrop for those selling antiques and collectables, vintage or alternative goods. The pitches can also be used as studio space for arts and crafters to make, showcase and sell their creations. The offer of two month's free trading must be followed by a minimum of one further month trading at the regular rate.

Business space for a cafe/tearoom is also currently available.

Discounted rates for new traders

Festival Market (covered market in Morecambe)

Traders bringing a new commodity to the market are eligible for a discounted rental of just £100 per month for the first three months of trading – a fantastic opportunity for new traders to get off to a flying start and benefit from the increase in footfall during spring/summer trading. You need to commit to trading for an additional month (or for three additional months if you sign up between May and July). Commodities must be new or currently absent from the market.

Charter Market (outdoor market in Lancaster)

Free pitches to rent*.

New traders can apply for a free pitch on Lancaster’s popular street market (Wednesdays and Saturdays, maximum of two days trading per trader).

*Offer applies to new traders introducing something different to the market and bringing commodities other than food.  Pitch sizes are 3m by 3m.

For more information or to arrange a visit contact the Markets Team on 01524 582504 or email


Free support to help Lancashire startups succeed!

Are you based in Lancashire and planning to start your own business this year? Whether this is your first startup or not, you’ll face a lot of challenges along the way from turning a great idea to a working business, accessing growth finance and learning the skills you need to run your own business.

Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub offers specialist support to help new startup businesses in the county survive and thrive. We’ve already helped more than 600 people set up a business in Lancashire. Don’t miss out, apply for free Startup Lancashire support today.

The Growing Club

The Growing Club offers funded courses for women considering the option of setting up a business. Courses look at your skills, what it means to run a business and available support.

Women completing the course and who are ready to start a business can then feed into the next startup course for 12 months of taught input and support from other women running businesses, to make sure that your business has the best possible chance of growing.

U Start

The U Start project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, aims to assist people to develop their business ideas at pre-start stage, to register new ventures, and to develop them over their earliest stages of trading

Support is provided through two pathways:

  • Enterprise Readiness: Aspiring entrepreneurs and founders receive non-financial support to become ‘enterprise ready’.  Interventions focus on ideas testing and validation, market research, business and financial planning, business formation, etc, with the aim of giving beneficiaries full confidence to register a business as a result.  The activities are predominantly workshop based, or via blended learning programmes.
  • New Business: New business owners receive non-financial support to de-risk their businesses and prepare them to engage in growth support. Content focuses on strategic planning, business leadership, advanced financial planning and seeking finance, marketing, etc, with the aim of supporting the resilience of the business owner and the sustainability of the business. The activities are predominantly mentoring based, via 1-2-1 support from experienced entrepreneurs, according to the specific needs of the business.

Content is delivered through a range of media to enable scalability and accessibility – traditional one-to-many, flipped classroom with facilitated self-access, coaching and mentoring, networking, business simulation experiences, etc.

NatWest Pre Accelerator Programme - starting early 2020

Free programme running over 24 weeks covering key business topics such as:

  • Customer discovery and validation
  • Mindsets and behaviours
  • Financial viability

The programme starts with an 'Ignition' event at Lancaster University on 28 January where aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators will learn essential tools and techniques proven to help develop scalable ventures.

 Additional support, such as workshops and one-to-one guidance, will be provided to eligible businesses through the ‘U Start’ business support teams at Lancaster University and UCLan.

If you are interested in applying please complete the simple online form here as soon as possible.

New Enterprise Allowance

Are you over 18, and have a great new business idea? Do you (or your partner) currently receive Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support? You could get help to start up in business.

Start-up Finance

Are you starting a new business or been trading for less than two years and need finance for your new business? Looking to borrow between £500 and £25,000 over one to five years to help your business grow?