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Starting up is only the beginning

Discover how to develop and grow your startup and explore the support and tools you can use

Your business is running, registered, and ready to grow. Figuring out where to go next can be challenging so we've listed some resources here to help, from tips on networking and marketing your company to finding the right office space for you. 

Startup accelerators

Startup accelerators are usually fixed-term, cohort-based programmes that include mentoring and educational components. Accelerator programmes usually end with a public pitching event or demo day. There are lots of options available; some programmes offer financial investment, incubation, ongoing support and more.

These are some startup accelerators available: 

  • leAD Sports Accelerator — For startups with outstanding ideas, the leAD team of entrepreneurs, experts and international top investors with a deep passion for and a strong foothold in sports paves the way to the best playing fields in the business.
  • Hatch Enterprise — Want to test an idea? Ready to start a business? Want to grow and scale an existing venture? We are here for you. With Launchpad, Incubator and Accelerator programmes to suit your business.
  • FFWD — The UK's leading pre-accelerator programme for early stage start-ups
  • Wayra Accelerator — If you have a business or an idea that uses technology to solve the problems of the future, Wayra is your place to make it grow. 
  • SolentLEP— Provide a variety of funding and support options to businesses in the Solent area.



Marketing your startup in today’s competitive economy is undoubtedly difficult, but there are steps you can take to make sure your startup gets a fighting chance at success.

To make things easier for yourself make sure you have a firm grasp on two key things. First make sure that all of your marketing strategies identify and build upon what makes your business unique, also known as your unique selling point (USP). Identify your USPs and keep them in mind as you plot out your tactics. Secondly, identify what the goals of your marketing strategy are: Do you want to gain social followers, convert prospective customers into purchasing customers or merely increase brand awareness? Knowing exactly what you want to gain from your marketing efforts will help you choose the best tactics.

Your brand shows off the personality of your business. Are you up-market and sleek or more friendly and approachable? What is the budget of your ideal client, and how will they know they're in the right place when they see your company?  

You brand isn't just your logo, company colours, and slogan - although these are important. Your brand will affect everything from the website you build to the clothes you wear to work. Your personality will help you decide this as much as anything.

Brand guidelines

  • 10 tips for designing high-quality YouTube banners — Does your YouTube banner show visitors what value your channel offers? Does it reflect the quality of your videos? You can a design professional-looking banner with this guidance and available templates. 
  • Key ingredients of a strong brand — Studies have shown the growing importance of brand on a range of businesses-critical metrics. But what makes a strong brand? With the help of consumer insight platform Attest, Enterprise Nation surveyed 1,000 consumers to find out the answer to this question, so you can focus on the right areas.
  • 99designs — The world’s largest online graphic design marketplace. Connecting talented freelance designers with creative people, genius entrepreneurs, savvy businesses, and anyone else who needs great work. Designs can include: logo creation, website design, flyers, corporate merchandising, packaging and more.
  • Infographic Resume Templates and Design Tips — Infographic resumes are perfect for bringing to interviews, publishing on your site or social media pages and attaching to email applications. If you aren't a designer by trade, How can you create an infographic resume that will impress? Easy: start with an infographic resume template.

  • Canva - Online Design Made Easy

Developing your online presence can help build your brand, make your services more accessible, give you a wider audience and open the door for two-way conversations with your customers.

Having an online presence means more than creating social media accounts or having a simple web page. Being visible online means engaging in interesting conversations and pushing your brand to become a persona customers are comfortable with. 

Social media guides

Pay per click

  • Kick-start Pay Per Click advertising — Pay per click (PPC) advertising is a powerful channel for securing conversion and raising awareness of your business. Explore whether it's wise for a startup to invest their marketing budget into pay per click advertising.

Office space

You don't need a private office, a fancy meeting room or a large work space for people to take your business seriously. But if you'd like a space away from home to work, Portsmouth has a range of available office spaces to suit you from start-up incubation spaces to larger offices for established business.

Students can use our startup space in Innovation Space for free on a hotdesking basis. There are discounts available for alumni. You'll meet like-minded students and graduates and find the office is a great space to develop your startup. We also have mentoring available.

Portsmouth was recently named one of the Hot Spots for business start ups in Startup Britain, so Portsmouth is a great place for people looking to start up their own business. In recent years there has been an increase in incubation spaces to support these new businesses.

Office spaces: 

  • Innovation Connect — Free hot-desking space on campus. Reduced rates are also available to graduates. 
  • FreeOfficeFinder – An experienced property agency offering managed and serviced office space for rent. The free service will match you to a suitable workspace in Portsmouth
  • Complete Office Search — An independent office space advisory service who assist companies and organisations of all sizes, looking to rent serviced offices and office space on flexible terms. A free and impartial service helping you to find your ideal office. 
  • Workthere — Find office space to help your business grow. Workthere covers the whole flexible office market and works with you to find the right workspace to suit your everyday work, values and budget. We work with a variety of start-ups helping them find their first office space.  
  • Port 57 — Co-working space in Portsmouth.
  • Club workspace — Co-working space and network of creative drop-in hubs
  • Portsmouth Enterprise Centres — Varied size and locations across Portsmouth from offices to units.
  • Basepoint — Established office space available in a variety of locations. Virtual offices also available.
  • 1000 Lakeside North Harbour — 1000 Lakeside offers high quality, flexible office space, adjacent to the M27 and with easy access to Portsmouth city centre. Offering a wide range of office space solutions on flexible terms from 1,200 sq ft (109 sq m) to 40,000 sq ft (3,643 sq m).


Networking events and associations are a great way to build your business’s reputation and learn what others are doing. Most areas will have at least a couple of groups aimed at early stage businesses where you can share your experiences and support each other. Networking events are often focused around gaining specific knowledge, such and marketing tips for startups, so you can expand you knowledge and improve your business understanding by attending. Most events also have a social aspect to them so you can speak to fellow professionals and business owners on the topic.

Networking can expand your opportunities and introduce you and you business. Check out our events or explore the external events listed below.

External events:

  • Startup Sesame — A network specialising in tech events.
  • Shaping Portsmouth — A community interest company aiming to run valuable and relevant programmes that support Portsmouth.
  • Federation of Small Business – Hampshire — Offering a wide range of business services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions.
  • Hampshire Chamber of Commerce – Business Support — A range of programmes to help your business to grow successfully, whether you are looking for help with marketing, access to business finance, trading internationally, advice on employing staff or developing a Business Plan.
  • The Boardroom Network — For business owners, directors, and managers, whether from an entrepreneurial start-up or established company. Meet up each month for a regional breakfast.
  • BNI Hampshire — BNI is the most successful networking organisation in Hampshire with 10 weekly groups meeting across the county, passing on 8748 referrals worth £3.7m every year.
  • Network Pompey Business Club — Monthly networking in Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
  • Start-Up Disruptors – Solent — Business startup group in the Solent area across Portsmouth and Southampton.
  • Startup Grind Southampton — Startup Grind Southampton hosts monthly startup events to teach, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs.
  • Portsmouth Freelance Meetup — PFMeet is a monthly networking group for all creative types – web designers, graphic designers, developers, film makers, artists, photographers.

Other resources