Main Content

Set up your business

Sole trader? Business partnership? Private or Public Limited Company?

Review your set up options and decide what’s best for you and your business.

Have you thought about how you should structure your business?

It’s time to review your set up options and decide what’s best for you and your business. Read the description of some of your options below.

  • A private company must be registered with Companies House and file its accounts annually with Companies House and send an annual return report to Companies House. Private companies must have at least one member and one director.
  • A public limited company  must have at least two shareholders and at least two directors, be registered with Companies House and have issued shares to the public of a value of at least £50,000.
  • Business Partnerships In a business partnership, a partner can be an individual or business, the profits and gains of the partnership are shared with the partners. Each partner must be registered for Self-Assessment with HMRC and is responsible for paying tax on their share of the profits. An LLP must have two designated members.
  • Sole Trader As a sole trader you do not have to register with Companies House. You are personally reliable for any debt that the business runs up.

Start a Social Enterprise

The aim of Social Enterprises is to address social issues and improve the quality of life for individuals and communities. Their social mission is at the heart of everything they do. This is a well-established and diverse sector in Northern Ireland and the Social Enterprise economy creates opportunities and training for people who are often marginalised in society.

Ards and North Down Borough is home to a number of successful social enterprises that help to provide employment for local people and improve the environment. 

Get help to develop your socially oriented business

The Ards and North Down Social Entrepreneurship Programme (ANDSEP) is designed to help social entrepreneurs start a business and encourage existing social enterprises to grow. Its aim is to help social enterprises create additional employment and maximise their positive impact on society.

Register Your Business

Decided on a structure for your business? If you are forming a public or private company or a business partnership you must register with Companies House. Find out more about registering your company. 

Set up as a Sole Trader

If you’re a sole trader, you run your own business as an individual and are self-employed.

You need to set up as a sole trader if any of the following apply:

  • you earned more than £1,000 from self-employment between 6 April 2019 and 5 April 2020
  • you need to prove you’re self-employed, for example to claim Tax-Free Childcare
  • you want to make voluntary Class 2 National Insurance payments to help you qualify for benefits

You will need to register for a Self Assessment and file a tax return every year.

Start Your Business

You can access free business start-up advice and get help with your business plan as part of the Go For It programme and the Ards and North Down Social Enterpreneurship Programme. To find out more call 028 9147 3788 or by email