Business Support and Enterprise Development

Business Support and Enterprise Development

Supporting organisations working with heritage to build their capacity and resilience.

As the heritage sector faces some of its greatest challenges, our support is more important now than ever. As a commitment made in our Strategic Funding Framework and in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we have introduced programmes and resources to help the heritage sector become more robust, enterprising and forward looking.

People attending a workshop

We are championing resilience through a range of approaches – through grant giving, funded programmes of training and support, and sharing the best practice we've learned over 25 years as the largest dedicated grant funder of the UK's heritage.

These various approaches have been created to assist organisations in having greater capacity to withstand threats, respond to opportunities and to adapt to changing circumstances to give you a more secure future.

How we are helping

We have invested over £4million in business support and enterprise development training programmes across the UK, working with organisations and experts in the sector to deliver them.

Business support programmes

Working with external specialists and professionals, we developed a range of business support programmes tailored to all nations in the UK.

Rebuilding Heritage (UK-wide)

Rebuilding Heritage is a programme delivered by the Heritage Alliance which offered free one-to-one and small group support for organisations and individuals that work with heritage across the UK. The programme is now closed.

The programme helped participants build confidence, overcome immediate challenges and plan for a sustainable future. The main areas of focus included business planning, fundraising, and marketing and communications.

The full range of support included: 

  • one-to-one business support with Creative United
  • one-to-one communications strategy session and follow-up session with Media Trust
  • one-to-one fundraising consultancy with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising
  • Rebuilding Leadership training in group sessions with Clore Leadership
  • Managing Wellbeing training in group sessions with Steve Wood & Associates
  • Digital Marketing for Heritage Freelancers training in group sessions with Media Trust
  • Financial Literacy training in group sessions with Creative United

For more information visit the Rebuilding Heritage website

Free webinar recordings for the heritage sector

Recordings of a range of webinars are available on the Rebuilding Heritage website. These looked at how heritage organisations can use what we’ve learned in the pandemic to make changes for the better. 

Heritage Compass (England)

Man working on a dry stone wall in the North of England

Heritage Compass is a programme designed to help small and medium sized heritage organisations in England to grow resilience and invigorate the sector. It is being delivered by Cause4 in partnership with the Arts Marketing Association and Creative United. 

In spring 2021, Heritage Compass was awarded additional funding by The National Lottery Heritage Fund & DCMS to expand from 150 to 300 participating organisations.

The 18-month programme offers a range of training, mentoring and peer learning. Each organisation will develop a clear business plan, a developed income strategy and the tools and knowledge to respond to their specific needs and challenges.

Visit their website to find out more about the programme.

Surviving to Thriving (Scotland)

Kingfisher at the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre, Scotland

Surviving to Thriving: Supporting Sustainable Scottish Heritage Businesses is a resilience and leadership training programme is working with 40 heritage organisations in Scotland to help them develop sustainable business models. The tailored training will cover the topics of leadership, governance, business planning, and community engagement.

This programme is being delivered by industry experts from Museums Galleries Scotland, Built Environment Forum Scotland and Greenspace Scotland.

Re:Model (Northern Ireland)

Raleigh Hall development for Black Cultural Archives - two women studying archive material
Photo credit: Kois Miah

The Re:Model programme was launched in October 2020 and is being delivered by Thrive and Arts & Business NI.

Organisations and individuals in Northern Ireland involved in the programme are working to create their own personalised change plan which will act as a roadmap towards resilience and sustainability. This programme involves a mix of workshops, small group, one-to-one and networking meetings.

Catalyst Cymru: Broadening Horizons (Wales)

Catalyst Cymru: Broadening Horizons is a bilingual, pan-Wales project which aims to help micro, small and medium heritage organisations become more resilient and sustainable by broadening their income streams, audiences, teams and boards.

It is led by WCVA in partnership with Wales Co-operative Centre and will have activities running from October 2021.

Activities include:

  • organisational health checks to review resilience and enable a more strategic and efficient approach to business development, followed by coaching sessions on areas for development.
  • a training programme delivered with Wales Co-operative Centre
  • events and activities planned in conjunction with EYST, Pride Cymru and Disability Wales to get more people involved in heritage
  • grant funding to deliver the actions identified in health checks or coaching sessions.

Contact for further information, or contact via Twitter @CatalystCymru

Older man teaching a teenage girl a heritage craft in Scotland

Enterprise development programmes

We have developed two UK-wide programmes aimed at supporting organisations working with heritage to develop enterprise skills.

Steps to Sustainability

Steps to Sustainability is supporting organisations from across the UK to strengthen their strategic leadership and income-generating skills. The 15-month programme is being delivered by the Social Enterprise Academy, supported by consortium partners.

Organisations taking part will learn to be ambitious and forward-thinking, and how to deliver exciting new projects. The programme provides the following:

  • help for organisations to prepare for and build sustainability
  • funding up to £10,000 to help shape and launch business ideas
  • post-programme coaching / business mentoring
  • resources and toolkits for success

Heritage Trade Up

The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) is working with the Heritage Trust Network and the Architectural Heritage Fund to deliver the Heritage Trade Up programme.

The programme is supporting leaders of heritage organisations to develop and strengthen their entrepreneurialism. It aims to equip organisations with the skills and networks needed to be more innovative, increase traded income and financial resilience, and to create positive change within their organisations and communities.

SSE will support organisations to bring heritage to a wider audience, so the sector is better equipped to build a more connected and inclusive society.

To deliver this programme, SSE is working in partnership with a steering group comprised of a diverse range of leaders and influencers from across the heritage sector. The steering group is helping to shape the programme’s vision and learning offer, to ensure it is ambitious and targeted to the needs of the sector.

The programme includes:

  • 8 days of peer-based learning between October 2021 and June 2022 
  • Up to £10,000 Trade Back grant, supporting recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • the opportunity to gain a support network of like-minded peers

Applications to this programme are now closed.

Development and funding

At the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we halted project grants to dedicate all our resources to emergency and recovery funding. This included our own £50m Heritage Emergency Fund, as well as funds delivered on behalf of the government in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. By the end of the 2020-21 financial year, we distributed more than £400m into the sector. 

From November 2020, we began a phased reopening of National Lottery Grants for Heritage with refocused priorities. We want to support the sector in the medium term and build positive change across the UK's heritage. One of our key priorities is improving the resilience of organisations working in heritage.

Two gardeners pruning some flowers at Dyffryn Gardens, Wales

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Discover more resources, useful information and updates below:

A New Reality: fundraising in a crisis


A New Reality: fundraising in a crisis

Researcher and evaluator Henrietta Hopkins, Director of Hopkins Van Mil, introduces a new report which finds that heritage endowments are a cornerstone of resilience in challenging times.
Man taking a picture of himself using a touchscreen at an interactive exhibition
Museum of Making in Derby


Digital Skills for Heritage

Digital Skills for Heritage is designed to raise digital skills and confidence across the whole UK heritage sector.
Young woman in Science Gallery


Future Heritage

Discover the latest thinking about the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the heritage sector, and beyond.
European Union exit guidance


European Union exit guidance

We've pulled together some useful links to information from the Government and other agencies to help heritage organisations to prepare for the UK’s exit from the European Union.