How does East Sussex County Council Promote Business

East Sussex is one of the most ideal locations in the UK to start a business. Its proximity to the capital, to Gatwick Airport and New Haven port makes it possible for local entrepreneurs to reach nearby and international neighbours, as well as receive clients from all over the world. The county also has fast broadband connectivity and highly-skilled workers, allowing operations to run smoothly.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is extremely active in helping both startups and established businesses expand and grow. This career path comes with several challenges that one would find difficult to handle alone like funding, legal issues, technology, and additional training.

The Council can help connect you with the right organisations and put you on the right path. Here are just a few ways they do this with local East Sussex businesses.

Business Funding

One of the first and biggest issues every business owner has is enough capital to actually start the business. Fortunately, ESCC provides these funding options for micro, startups, and SME businesses:

1. East Sussex Invest 6

East Sussex Invest 6 (ESI6) is a programme run by the ESCC, together with the Regional Growth Fund and Locate East Sussex.

If you qualify, ESI6 can give you access to the following:

  • Grants — A 60% minimum match funding can get you £10,000 to £25,000 worth of capital grants; usually given with the loan
  • Loans — With a minimum match funding of 50%, as well as a £500 arrangement fee, you can loan anywhere from £10,000 to £200,000
  • Apprentice Grant — If you hire an accredited apprentice and prove that they stayed for six months, you can get an additional £1,500 grant; note that this is a one-off payment, limited to one apprentice per successful application, and only open to businesses receiving ES16 funding

2. Stalled Sites Fund

Formerly known as Catalysing Stalled Sites (CaSS), the Stalled Sites Fund is a one-off capital fund that accepts applicants every quarter until the £600,000 fund runs out. This funding is designed for financing feasibility studies and business case development, as well as unlocking stalled employment and housing sites.

If you qualify, you can get:

    • Feasibility — A minimum match of 50% can get you up to £20,000 of grants/loans
    • Business Case — A minimum match of 50% can get you up to £30,000 of grants/loans
  • Site Pre-development Work — A minimum match of 50% can get you up to £200,000 of loans/equity share

For application forms and inquiries, send an email to economicintervention.fund@eastsussex.gov.uk.

3. Funding for Green Businesses

As the UK continues to decrease its carbon footprint, the ESCC provides support to SMEs that aim to reduce their energy bills. If you qualify, you can get:

  • Grants — For SMEs and social enterprises with a green goal can get up to £10,000, so you can reinvest it into projects that will decrease your carbon footprint
  • Energy Audit — These are expert-led free audits that will show you how energy is used in your office and how to further reduce it

Note that this funding is on a first-come-first-served basis. Send an email to greengrowthplatform@brighton.ac.uk or call 01273 641949 for more information.

4. Locate East Sussex

Since 2013, Locate East Sussex has provided loans and grants to business owners who need help with finding locations, funding, and organisational growth.

Successful applicants can get access to:

  • Grants from £15,000 up to £40,000
  • Loans from £1,000 up to £200,000
  • Grants of up to £40,000 and loans of up to £200,000 from The East Sussex Invest 5 (ESI5)
  • Startup loans backed by the government, which entrepreneurs 18 and over can qualify
  • Funding for up to 30% of eligible items (e.g. new equipment, machinery, technology, and processes) from the South East Business Boost (SEBB)
  • Loans of up to £3,000 to £50,000 to small businesses and £1,000 to £50,000 to established businesses that can’t get bank support from the LDB Group of Finance (as backed by the British Business Bank)
  • Funding for innovations (e.g. new products and services) from Innovate UK, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, and KEEP+
  • Support for green businesses via the EU-funded LoCase

To find out if you’re eligible, send an email to enquiries@locateeastsussex.org.uk.

Mentorship

If you need mentorship, the ESCC promotes the following networking groups so you can exchange ideas with and learn from other East Sussex entrepreneurs:

Chambers of Commerce

There are several Chambers of Commerce that the ESCC believes will be helpful for local business owners:

Boroughs and District Councils

You can also reach out for help from your borough and district councils:

While this journey may be wrought with challenges and circumstances that are out of your control, you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re running a business in East Sussex and you need help with staying on top of your finances, feel free to get in touch with our professional accounting team.