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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

The Pitch competition opens for applications

20 April 2021

This year's Pitch competition promises to give 3,000 UK start-ups the tools they need to become investment ready.

The Pitch - now in its 14th year - offers new businesses the chance to be mentored and funded by top investors. This free-to-enter competition has helped UK start-ups raise tens of millions of pounds since launching in 2008. The competition is open to small businesses that have been trading for up to three years.

The 2021 programme is now open for applications. This hybrid event includes free online educational resources and workshops as well as live in-person pitching events, designed to equip entrepreneurs with the skills they need to take their business to the next level. The top ten start-ups will go on to compete on the national stage to win a package of mentoring and support from well-known entrepreneurs and the chance to gain investment.

Throughout May and June, there is a free package of online learning and webinars which anybody can access. Regional semi-finals will be held in October and the final will take place in November.

"The Pitch is committed to giving 3,000 UK start-ups the tools they need to become investment ready - and take their business to the next level," said Chris Goodfellow, founder of The Pitch. "The competition and package of mentoring and learning, which is completely free, will equip thousands of UK start-ups with the skills and opportunity to raise the money they need to grow."

This year's programme is supported by SageCrowdcubeSimpleWebAgora and FounderCatalyst.

"The pandemic has seen many individual's mindset shift on their working circumstances, with many now looking to take the plunge and start their own business," said Kirsty Waller, vice president UKI marketing at Sage.

Since launching in 2008, The Pitch has helped many start-ups, including ResolverLatest Free Stuff and Much Better Adventures.

Written by Rachel Miller.