Business Support and Apprenticeships

Enabling a flourishing local economy is one of the Council's three top priorities. We have lots of information to help businesses, including how we can support existing local businesses and how we can help new businesses.

The Council's approach to sustainable growth is set out in Economic Development Vision for East Hertfordshire [4MB].

This document identifies some of the important actions we are undertaking in order to support our local economy including measures we are taking to help businesses.

For anybody who is thinking of starting up their own business, Launchpad provides support and advice. Launchpad is a new business innovation centre, that originally opened in Bishop's Stortford in September 2017. In June 2019, we opened another business innovation centre in Ware.

Launchpad offers 3 months hot-desking (inc leased line fibre broadband) in a modern, flexible workspace to support you in developing and growing your business venture. With options to suit every type of business, Launchpad provides the space, business advice, expertise and culture to help your business take off. It is run by East Herts and we're proud to be supporting local businesses across two towns in East Herts.

More information, including business advice and business training and development, is available on the Launchpad's website.

The Hertfordshire Start-up Programme (Wenta), part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, gives residents of Hertfordshire access to 12 hours of free business start-up support. For further information, please see their website.

East Herts businesses within the sectors of social enterprise, bioscience or MROs (maintenance, repairs and operations) supporting Stansted airport are now eligible for two types of support, thanks to a £1.2 million European Regional Development Fund contract awarded to the council by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.

Support to help businesses grow will comprise of either a small capital grant of £3k to £5k or a 12 hour package of business support consisting of business related workshops, mentoring and networking opportunities. This support will be available to eligible businesses until June 2023. To find out whether your business is eligible for support please complete our business grants and support enquiry form.

This project also part funds the expansion of the council’s Launchpad facilities to meet the growing demand from businesses in and around Bishop’s Stortford and Ware. More information, including business advice and business training and development, is available on the Launchpad's website.

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Hertfordshire Growth Board

Businesses with ten or more employees or a turnover of £1m or more who are seeking to grow can receive advice and help from the Hertfordshire Growth Board.

Hertfordshire Growth Board is the way the county is now working together to manage growth. With the Hertfordshire population expected to rise by up to 175,000 by 2031, at least 100,000 new homes and jobs will need to be created over the same period. This brings opportunities and challenges. Hertfordshire Growth Board is made up of the County Council, the 10 district and borough councils and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Working together is how we continue our ‘joint’ success and create opportunities for everyone, now and in the future. Together we are committed to working together to deliver an ambitious growth agenda to support a thriving economy, with affordable housing, a sustainable transport network, excellent schools and healthcare facilities. 

More information, including their latest events and case studies, is available on the Hertfordshire Growth Hub website.

Eastern Plateau

In addition to the Growth Hub, The Eastern Plateau Programme was a funding initiative for rural communities and businesses in East Hertfordshire, North Hertfordshire, Epping Forest and Uttlesford. The initiative received funding from the Rural Development Programme for England, under the European Commission's Leader programme from 2008 to 2013, and obtained further funding from 2015 to 2020.

Around £1.6 million in grants has been given out between 2008-2013, and a further £1.8m allocated from 2015 to date, largely to economic development projects and SMEs, so it represents a substantial grant fund and key opportunity for rural enterprises in the area, particularly for small businesses.

The programme has now closed to applications, however an evaluation of the impact on the funding has commenced to understand more about the rural area and the future priorities. This will help inform the next round of funding. For further information please see the GOV.UK website & the European Agricultural fund for Rural Development (EAFRD website)

Although the Eastern Plateau is now closed, grant funding has recently been announced by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) covering the rural areas. For more information please go to the Gov.UK website. The Eastern Plateau Programme is funded by the Rural Development Programme for England.

Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal(HOP), has launched to market enabling students, employers and residents to HOP into all the resources they need to make informed career decisions and build a future talent pipeline.

There are several grants available to different business types. For more information on grants, see our Grants Funding for Businesses page

Vist Herts is the official tourism service for Hertfordshire and provides expertise and support for attactions, accomodations and destinations across the county to raise Hertfordshire's profile as as a tourist destination, to increase visitor numbers, jobs and business opportunities.

As well as providing support through their website and social media channels, Visit Herts also provides business to business (B2B) support with regular networking events and representation at trade events.