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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

UK firms focus on innovation as Brexit looms

25 November 2016

UK firms focus on innovation as Brexit loomsMost UK firms plan to increase or maintain innovation spending in order to drive business growth as the UK moves towards Brexit, according to new research.

A CBI survey of over 800 businesses, conducted with the support of Deloitte and Hays, has found that 70% of respondents plan to increase or maintain their innovation spending following the vote to leave the EU. Only 7% plan to reduce their investment.

Last year, UK businesses invested almost £21bn on innovation; the UK is currently rated 10th in the world for innovation. The top priorities for encouraging more effective innovation, according to the firms polled, are: more collaboration and partnership (65%), greater access to technical skills (68%) and increased Government support (56%).

Asked about their own approach to innovation, 44% of businesses said their firms were pioneers in innovation (early adopters and developers), 42% described themselves as experimenters and 13% said they were followers.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, said: "Innovation is the nucleus of future economic and social development ... As we prepare to depart the EU, this shows that firms are rolling up their sleeves and looking to make the best of Brexit."

In this week's Autumn Statement, chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled a new £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund which is to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over the next five years.

Also this week, prime minister Theresa May announced a review of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) - aimed at boosting innovation and helping more small firms bring new technologies to market.

The SBRI, managed by Innovate UK, is a cross-Government programme that enables small firms to bid for Government research and development contracts to develop new technologies.

This initiative provides companies with £50,000 to £100,000 to test an idea, and then up to £1 million to develop prototypes. Since 2009, the programme has provided over £330 million of contracts. There is more information on the Innovate UK website.

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