Business Support and Enterprise Development

Business Support and Enterprise Development

Man fixing old wall
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.

We have invested over £6million in business support and enterprise development training programmes across the UK.

We are championing resilience through a range of approaches:

  • grant giving
  • funded programmes of training and support
  • sharing best practice

How we are helping

We have invested over £6million 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 is delivered by the Heritage Alliance, offering free one-to-one and small group support for organisations and individuals that work with heritage across the UK.

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

The full range of support includes: 

  • one-to-one business support with Creative United
  • one-to-one communications strategy with Media Trust
  • one-to-one fundraising consultancy with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising
  • Rebuilding Leadership training with Clore Leadership
  • This programme is closed for applications. For more information and free webinars visit the Rebuilding Heritage website.

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

In spring 2021, Heritage Compass was awarded additional funding by the Heritage Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to expand from 150 to 300 participating organisations.

Kingfisher at the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre, Scotland

Surviving to Thriving: Supporting Sustainable Scottish Heritage Businesses is a resilience and leadership training programme. It works with 40 heritage organisations in Scotland to help them develop sustainable business models.

The tailored training covers leadership, governance, business planning and community engagement.

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

The Re:Model programme is run by Thrive and Arts & Business NI.

A wide range of heritage organisations in Northern Ireland are involved in the programme working to create their own personalised change plan which will act as a roadmap towards resilience and sustainability.

The second cohort of organisations has begun work on the programme.

  • This programme is closed for applications. For more information visit the Thrive website.

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

Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) is running the project in partnership with Cwmpas (formerly Wales Cooperative Centre). It is also supported by Disability Wales, Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team Wales (EYST) and Pride Cymru.

Activities include:

  • organisational health checks to review resilience and enable a more strategic and efficient approach to business development
  • coaching sessions on topics such as governance, income generation, marketing and measuring and sharing social value and impact
  • support for organisations to widen their networks and reach more people from under-served communities
  • networking opportunities for individuals from under-served groups interested in volunteering, finding employment or becoming a trustee in heritage

For more information visit the Catalyst Cymru website.

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 is supporting organisations from across the UK to strengthen their strategic leadership and income-generating skills. The programme is 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
  • This programme is closed for applications. For more information visit the Steps to Sustainability website.

The Heritage Trade Up programme is run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs with the Heritage Trust Network and the Architectural Heritage Fund.

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.

The programme includes:

  • peer-based learning
  • 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  
  • This programme is closed for applications. For more information visit the Heritage Trade Up website.

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:

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Museum of Making in Derby


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