Business Support Scheme

The Business Support Scheme (BSS) is designed to help businesses develop their business skills and management competencies.

The scheme offers a grant of 50% towards the cost of projects in a wide range of business disciplines up to a maximum level of assistance of £4500 per project.

The range of services on offer to businesses include expert consultancy to deliver complete business solutions, including hardware and software where appropriate, and strategic business development advice including mentorship. The Business Support Scheme encompasses 11 key disciplines that cover all aspects of business.

These are:

  • Marketing
  • Design
  • E-business
  • Environmental efficiency
  • Human resources development
  • Quality
  • Operations management
  • Business and strategic planning
  • Information communication technology/information systems
  • Business and financial management controls
  • Retail Consultancy

Each BSS project delivers a complete business solution in any of the business disciplines above. The scheme guidelines and application form can also be found on this page.

How does the Business Support Scheme work?

Once you have applied for assistance under the BSS, the scheme manager will arrange for a business development consultant (BDC) to visit you to carry out a free of charge strategic review of your business. This review will be made available to you in the form of a report, which is yours to keep.

If you wish to proceed with a BSS project, you will need to select a project consultant from the consultants list. A copy of the BDC's report will be sent to the BSS scheme manager who will ensure adherence to all requirements.

NOTE: The business development consultant and any project consultant subsequently appointed are independent contractors and are not employees of the Department. The Department will not be a party to any subsequent contract entered into between the business and project consultant.

The consultant will then work with you in order to formulate a detailed project, and to produce an agreed contract. A free mentoring programme is available through your BDC, for up to three hours over 6 months once your project has been agreed.

The BSS Scheme Manager will approve the contract, and be available to help at all times.

Once complete the Department will pay 50% of the cost of the project to a maximum of £4500 assistance. You will pay the other 50%. No payment will be made until you are satisfied with the work carried out.

There has also been an increase in the suite of ongoing business support by providing assistance with a Customer Service Excellence (CSE) accreditation for local companies. The new accreditation will allow local companies to demonstrate the quality of their service and bring professional, high-level customer service concepts into common practice. 

Accredited consultants

An up to date listing of the Business Support Scheme accredited consultants is available to download.

If you are interested in becoming a consultant for the Department for Enterprise's Business Support Scheme please contact the Scheme Support Manager by telephone on +44 1624 687333 or e-mail

Further Information

Download the application form here

To download a copy of the BSS Eligibility Flowchart, click here.

For further details and scheme guidelines, click here.

To enquire, click here.

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