Working for yourself in Ashfield
In the UK, approximately 15% of workers are self-employed. Before COVID-19, this number was steadily on the rise; there were more than 5 million self-employed people in the UK at the start of 2020, compared to just 3.2 million in 2000.
But COVID-19 seems to have briefly disrupted this steady growth; bringing into light the many benefits and potential drawbacks of self-employment during a pandemic. If you’re reading this, you’re likely ready to take the leap to become an entrepreneur, freelancer, or contractor and need some guidance on how to get started.
It’s important to keep top of mind that as with any new endeavour, working for yourself can be a huge risk, and proper preparation is key.
Where to start
You can find lots of information on starting and running businesses, including marketing, finance, sales and human resources, on the ‘Start a business’ section of the Entrepreneur Handbook website and working for yourself section of the GOV.UK website.
You can also get help by attending a free business start-up course, such as:
- NBV Business Assist
- Princess Trust
- Kick off in Business Course
- The Big House Programme
- Head-Start Enterprising Ashfield
- Skills Bootcamps
Nottingham urban business support programme
This programme supports the start-up and growth or development of existing micro, small and medium-sized businesses based in Nottingham City, Broxtowe and parts of Gedling, Rushcliffe and Ashfield. In our area only Hucknall based businesses are eligible. Grants of between £1000 and £2500 are available which covers a maximum of 25% of your eligible project costs. Minimum spends for any projects to be considered are £4000. Once approved, grant funding can be used to purchase services or equipment to help your business expand or diversify.
- email: Glen Starbuck, NBV Business Advisor - firstname.lastname@example.org
- website: NVB – The Nottingham Urban Business Support Business Programme
Prince’s Trust free enterprise programme
This is for 18 to 30 year olds living in the UK, who want to start their own business. There are 4 stages to the programme, including a 4 day workshop, business planning and idea testing with help of a mentor and a business launch stage with access to a low interest business loan of £5000.
- email: Samuel Steel, Partnerships Manager - Samuel.Steel@princes-trust.org.uk
- website: Princes Trust – Support for starting a business
Kick-off business course
This is a free online course to help individuals that are interested in becoming self-employed. The course will explore useful topics such as:
- the formalities of setting up
- legal requirements and insurances
- finance, money and grants
- opportunities and risks
- business planning
- creating an identity
- finding a USP
- building a proposition
- social media and marketing.
The Big House programme
This is a free bespoke package of support for creative and digital businesses, with the aim of providing tailored mentoring, workshops, and grants, to help with pre-start, start-ups or established or growth staged business. This programme works with other business support organisations such as NBV and Nottingham Trent University.
- website: The Big House Programme
Head-start - Ashfield enterprise project
Whether you want to be your own boss, get that side-hustle off the ground, start generating some passive income, or just get a better work/life balance, Nottingham Trent University can help.
- Free 1-2-1 advice and coaching
- Free workshops and training on how to set up and run a business
- £1000 grant to help get you started.
If you live, work, or intend to set up a business in the towns of Kirkby in Ashfield or Sutton in Ashfield, you could be eligible for support through the Enterprising Ashfield project to get you started on your journey.
Head-start advisers will walk you through establishing a new business in those all important early months. They will guide you through everything you need to know, and you don’t need to have any prior knowledge or experience in running a business.
To enquire about support to set up your own business in the Kirkby or Sutton in Ashfield areas, please contact:
- email: EnterprisingAshfield@ntu.ac.uk
- telephone: 0115 848 2813
- website: NTU
- closing date: 31 March 2026
Skills Bootcamps are free flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, for people looking for a new role or job opportunity. If you’re self-employed, you’ll be able to use the training to seek new opportunities for your business.
There are fully funded courses available in many business sectors including:
- Business administration
- Green skills
- HGV driving
Visit the Skills Bootcamps website and find the right course to help you set up your business:
- website: Skills Bootcamps East Midlands
You also need to consider where you will deliver your services.
Do you need your own office? Or can you take a desk in a shared space? If you only require space for a few hours a week then you could look at co-working or hot-desk spaces.
Ashfield District Council have some low cost incubation offices to help support young growing businesses. You can also email the estates team directly, to ask about available offices in the following buildings:
- Ada Lovelace Building – Kirkby in Ashfield
- Byron Business Centre - Hucknall
- The Kingsway Lodge - Kirkby in Ashfield
- High Pavement Building – Sutton in Ashfield (coming soon)
- page link: Commercial and business premises to let - Ashfield District Council
- email: email@example.com
If you want to explore a retail, then a good place to see what this is like is to have a stall on one of our local markets.
- Moor Market (indoor) at Lowmoor Street, Kirkby in Ashfield
- Hucknall Market (outdoor) at High Street, Hucknall
- Kirkby Market (outdoor) at Kirkby in Ashfield
- Sutton Market (outdoor) at Portland Square in Sutton in Ashfield
- Idlewells Market (indoor) at Idlewells Shopping Centre, Sutton in Ashfield
- page link: Markets and Town Centres
- email: Ashfield District Council Markets Team - firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like help to find retail premises, then we recommend you contact:
- email: Nigel Carnall, Director - email@example.com
- website: WA Barnes Estate Agents
- Chloe O’Donnell, Centre Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org
- website: Idlewells Shopping
Did you know that we have a Business Support web page? Here you can see information that will support you in starting up, and growing your business.
We also have a business support team that can arrange a meeting with you to offer advice; please email: email@example.com