Chelmsford City Council

Support for businesses

Coronavirus has had an unprecedented effect on the economy at both a national and a local level. The impact of the pandemic has been far-reaching and the long term implications are hard to predict.

We have created an Economic Renewal Plan and are building a wide-ranging package of business support initiatives. We want to help revitalise businesses and position them to make the most of future opportunities.

We have also formed a unique partnership with councils across North and Mid Essex to develop a business support and skills programme. This will help businesses recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. You can read more about the North Essex Economic Board

The plan draws on our 2020 business survey and a sets out a number of priorities that we are already working on.

The plan's key themes are:

  • business support
  • promotion of Chelmsford
  • skills

You can download our  Economic Renewal Plan.

We have developed a  business support booklet detailing the range of support that we can offer your business. 

You will receive a copy of the booklet with your business rate bill.

We have partnered with Visit Essex to give targeted support to businesses in the visitor economy. We know that the visitor economy has been particularly hard hit over recent times. So, we are keen to work with Visit Essex and businesses to provide support in this area.

With the free Visit Essex membership, you will be able to have your own entry on www.visitessex.com with online booking facilities. Visit Essex will also include your business in relevant marketing activities and campaigns.

In addition, you can enjoy:

  • access to free training courses
  • invitations to Visit Essex events
  • monthly member newsletters and industry updates
  • access to Visit Essex’s image library for you to use freely on your website to promote what Essex has to offer

To apply for this fantastic opportunity, you need to submit the Visit Essex membership application form.

There are limited funds for this scheme, and we will assess applications on a first come basis. We will notify all successful applicants. Membership runs until 30 June 2022. You can download the Visit Essex’s Terms and Conditions for full details.

We have partnered with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to support small businesses.

We have fully subsidised business memberships, which has meant that over 450 businesses are already benefiting from a year’s FSB membership absolutely free.

The scheme has proved to be successful and we have now allocated all free memberships. We are currently reviewing the scheme and exploring options for the future. We will provide details of any future opportunities here once confirmed.

We have partnered with the Essex Chambers of Commerce to provide a fully-funded programme of support to Chelmsford businesses who import and export. The programme offers much-needed international trade support to help businesses trade confidently and compliantly.


Membership benefits

If you qualify for the programme, you will receive a full 12 month membership to the Essex Chambers of Commerce and access to all standard benefits and services, including:

  • free or discounted events and training
  • general business support
  • member-to-member introductions
  • article submission to Grapevine e-zine
  • discounted Chamber products and services
  • a Members-only area that includes the members database 
  • submission to the Member2Member offer area


International Trade Officer

You can also benefit from an initial 1-2-1 advisory session with an International Trade Officer. This can be adapted around the need of your business to create a suggested Support Plan. The plan will include:

  • two full-day and one half-day training courses from a BCC accredited training programme, or bespoke assistance/consultancy to the value of £850 (excluding VAT)
  • two free international trade events 
  • 50% discounts on our export documentation 
  • international trade support and guidance throughout the year
  • access to the Chamber Customs Declarations Service
  • access to our international products and services
  • receipt of the international trade newsletter
  • access to our global business network, including introductions to our key contacts


For further information and to apply for the scheme, you can visit the Essex Chambers of Commerce’s website.

Apply for carbon literacy training

We have partnered with Lorent Training to offer Chelmsford businesses the unique opportunity to learn:

  • more about what climate change is
  • about the carbon impact of your business
  • how you can reduce emissions

This Carbon Literacy Project-accredited course will help your business learn about simple steps you can take in your everyday life. These actions, which may seem small, can all add up to make a big difference.

Courses will run on:

  • Thursday 23 and Friday 24 June 2022
  • Thursday 30 June and Friday 1 July 2022
  • Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 September 2022
  • Thursday 22 and Friday 23 September 2022
  • Thursday 6 and Friday 7 October 2022
  • Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 November 2022
  • Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 November 2022

This training is fully funded by us, meaning there is no cost to you to take part.

Apply for procurement training

If you want to supply goods or services to the public sector, you need to get ‘tender fit’ before applying for contracts. 

We have partnered with BIZphit to offer procurement workshops and one-to-one support covering:

  • the basics of public sector tendering requirements
  • how to find public sector contracts
  • how to register for contracts
  • what you need to do to be ready to supply the public sector
  • what buyers look for when assessing your business
  • how to find sub-contracting opportunities
  • where local authorities place their contract opportunities
  • what SQ, PQQ and ITT mean and top tips for completing them

We have scheduled workshops on:

  • Wednesday 4 May: Introduction to Public Sector Contracting
  • Wednesday 18 May: Supply Chain and Proposal Writing
  • Wednesday 8 June: How to Prepare and Submit a Tender

This training is fully funded by us, meaning there is no cost to you to take part.

Apply for Instagram training

Instagram is a key tool for businesses, helping them to promote products and services, boost their brand and increase sales.

We have partnered with Squarestar Digital to offer businesses free one-to-one training and support on Instagram. Whether you are brand new to the world of Instagram or a daily user, this training will help you get the most from the platform.

This training is fully funded by us, meaning there is no cost to you to take part.

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Last updated: 20 May 2022

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