Business recovery and renewal

According to national research from PWC and Centre for Cities Reading is well placed to bounce back strongly from the effects of the COVID lockdown. But the economy will recover quicker with some extra support. 

  • For information on grants and business relief, look here>>>
  • For advice on running your business as safely as possible, look here>>>
  • Many businesses are also feeling the impacts of Brexit. You can find full information on the changes your sector may need to make here>>>   
  • Reading UK has produced a Recovery Strategy programme – Powered by People. You can read more here>>>
  • As part of the Recovery Strategy a useful business toolkit has been put together – this includes expert content, blogs and short films:
  • Reading Business Network: as part of the recovery programme businesses across Reading have come together to form the Business Network. More details below.

Reading Blade Abbey Ruins and NW June 2020 AB lowres cropped

Business Support Organisations   

There are many agencies and various support mechanisms available to businesses in the area - some business-led and privately organised, others offered by regional and national agencies.

As the economic development company for the area, Reading UK is well placed to help with queries that are not just connected with access to finance or improving your skills base, but will help if you are thinking of relocating your business to the area, or thinking of expansion:

Reading Business Network

A FREE network of every type and size of business across greater Reading. The Group holds regular meetings, with expert speakers, business advice and intelligence sharing and the core group links to a broad selection of training and skills offers, latest local business news, and the wider recovery and growth agenda. There are also regular newsletters, B2B and B2C promotions and neighbourhood forums to encourage business to shop local.

Reading Business Network is co-ordinated by local business with the backing of Reading UK and aims to be the voice of local business, encouraging collaborative working, local economic strength and access to Reading stakeholders in all areas of influence.

Contact to find out more.   

Berkshire Business Growth Hub       

The Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub offers fully funded, impartial support services and expert advice to entrepreneurs, start-ups and established businesses in Berkshire. The service includes free clinics and workshops on a range of business issues, alongside a special High Growth Programme to provide tailored support to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) with high growth potential.

The organisation is a one-stop shop for business support, providing a wealth of information, advice, support services and events – all free of charge. Growth Hub can also connect you with a network of local and national programmes and organisations.

Now part of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Growth Hub offers impartial, professional and confidential business advice, specialist support programmes and a range of events for businesses throughout Berkshire, including one to one advice for all size of business. From established companies with ambitious growth plans, to entrepreneurs looking to turn ideas into a business, Growth Hub is there to help.

Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVBLEP) 

TVB LEP is just one of a network of LEPs throughout England. It is the engine of a wider strategic partnership, which is chaired and led by senior business figures.

Its overarching priority is to secure better access to talented people and bright ideas, and to use both more effectively. Its key objectives include upskilling the workforce, building aspirations and ambition, ensuring that economic potential is not restricted by labour supply, strengthening networks and making TVB’s towns genuine hubs in the ideas economy.

As custodian of public funds, received from government and previously the EU, it operates within an Assurance Framework, and is accountable to the Ministry of Homes, Communities & Local Government.     


Membership organisations

Federation of Small Businesses    

As experts in business, the FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government. With a mission to help smaller businesses and the self-employed achieve their ambitions, this not-for-profit organisation, is led by a team of existing members, and exists to serve the small business community across the UK.

The FSB vision is to be recognised as the most influential and trusted organisation representing the voice of ALL small businesses, in every region and nation of the UK, including the Thames Valley. As well as providing fantastic membership benefits FSB is also focused on delivering change which supports smaller businesses to grow and succeed.

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce and Industry    

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group is the voice of business in the Thames Valley, on behalf of micro to multinational organisations, driving better economic conditions and new opportunities for Chamber members and the wider community.

Through its recognised centre of excellence for global trade and inward investment, the Chamber provides services that promote and create opportunities for the Thames Valley business community while protecting trade and the local/national economic environment. The TV Chamber is part of the national UK Chambers of Commerce and offers local engagement, regional representation and global opportunity.

Institute of Directors    

The Institute of Directors (IoD) was founded in 1903 and within three years was awarded a Royal Charter to support, represent and set standards for business leaders nationwide. There are hubs in the heart of all major cities and the IoD continues to represent the point of view of business leaders both locally and nationally. Its objective is to ensure member’s views are taken into account when the government is reviewing policy, legislation or seeking the opinions of the wider business community.

Membership provides access to business information, training, professional expertise, networking opportunities and flexible working spaces - all designed to help strengthen and build the potential of business leadership, entrepreneurism and responsible business practise. 

The Berkshire branch is one of seven in the South of England with a programme of events throughout the year including Breakfast Briefings, Lunches, Informal networking and more.


Accessing finance

British Business Bank    

The British Business Bank is 100% Government owned, but independently managed. It brings expertise and Government money to the smaller business finance markets. It won’t lend or invest directly. Instead it works with over 130 partners such as banks, leasing companies, venture capital funds and web-based platforms, offering Start Up, Scale Up and Stay Ahead loans.

As a business you can apply for finance through a variety of partners who, because they work with the Business Bank, can lend and invest more, especially to younger and faster growing companies. The programmes are designed to bring benefits to smaller businesses that are start-ups, high growth, or simply viable but underfunded. The organisation has two commercial subsidiaries, British Business Investments Ltd and British Patient Capital Ltd, which make commercial investments into providers of finance to smaller business in the UK.

The Funding Circle    

A leading global small business loans platform, Funding Circle is one of the best-capitalised lending platforms in the world and listed on the London Stock Exchange in October 2018.

Backers collectively manage over $5 trillion and are the leading firms behind Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Betfair. When Funding Circle was created, its founders could see that businesses weren’t being given the finance to grow, while investors were making poor returns. They had a simple idea — let them support each other. By lending directly to businesses through Funding Circle, investors can now earn attractive returns to better provide for their future. Businesses get fast, easy access to funding to grow, create jobs, support local communities and drive the economy forward.

The Funding Circle has helped over 90,000 small businesses across Europe and the US and has attracted billions in investment from both individuals and institutions.  Visit the website to see if this is right platform for your business funding.

The FSE Group   

Funding Scale Up Enterprises provides tailored funding solutions and supports ambitious and innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to help them achieve their maximum potential. This includes the provision of fund management services and the management of business angel networks.

FSE CIC is an independent not-for-profit Community Interest Company whose surpluses are reinvested in the business. It also has a number of subsidiary companies to deliver its funds and services, which are collectively referred to as The FSE Group. All regulated activities are delivered through FSE Fund Managers Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our Approach:

The FSE Group works closely with clients, to understand their business and their funding requirements. Whether working with early stage companies to prepare them for investment, sourcing and providing finance from funds under management or via a business angel network, or assisting with business development through training and other support, FSE offers a broad range of expertise to SMEs wanting to grow.


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