We provide a free and easy way for start-ups and SMEs in East Sussex to access the right funding for their business.
Any small business with the potential for growth needs to have access to funding when needed. We can help you to navigate the world of business finance, advising on a vast array of business grants and loans, and guiding you to the funding options that are right for your goals.
We help to deliver the East Sussex Invest economics development programme on behalf of East Sussex County Council, and since 2013 we have helped countless businesses access £millions of funding, boosting the local economy, and creating over 800 new permanent jobs in the county.
Our team of finance experts are here to help you every step of the way, guiding you through the grant and loan application process. We can also help you to access alternative finance including venture capital, angel support and more...
And the best bit. We are fully funded so our services are free. There's no catch. We exist to attract new business investment that will support the economic growth of the county and create jobs.
For more information on how we can help you
Grants are a form of funding given freely to financially support businesses who meet eligibility criteria set out by the funders (it is effectively free money and doesn’t need to be paid back). Most grants are funded by national and local government to grow the local economy and create jobs.
We also have other funding options to provide more ways for your business to access the finance it needs including loans.
If you need short-term finance such as working capital or longer-term funding to finance new equipment and business growth, we will be able to guide you through all funding options available to you and help you apply for funding that is right for you, including a mix of grants and loans if you're eligible.
ESI7 fund is an East Sussex County Council and Regional Growth Fund (RGF) programme to support the local economy and create jobs. It is delivered by East Sussex County Council in partnership with Locate East Sussex. The fund offers grants and loans for capital investment to stimulate business growth and job creation in the county.
Grants from £10k to £25k – require minimum match funding of 60%
Loans from £10k to £200k – require minimum match funding of 50% and have an arrangement fee of £500 which may be added to the loan on request.
There is an additional grant of £1.5k for a new accredited apprentice position. This is a one-off payment with no match or evidence of spend required; it is limited to one per successful application.
See fund guidelines
Let’s Do Business Finance is accredited by the British Business Bank to lend to small businesses with the backing of Enterprise Finance Guarantee.
Since 2009, the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) has supported the provision of £2.7bn of finance to more than 26,000 smaller businesses in the UK. EFG facilitates lending to companies that are viable but unable to obtain finance due to having insufficient security to meet their first-choice lender’s normal security requirements.
Let’s Do Business Finance will use EFG guarantees on loans to fund the future growth or expansion of a business, from £10,000 to £50,000. Finance terms are from three months up to seven years.
Growth Loans from £10,000 to £50,000 are available for established businesses of 12 months or more that are looking but are unable to access conventional bank support.
Capital grants from between £1k to £10k for small and medium enterprises, funding up to 30% of eligible goods or services.
To find out more, check the eligibility guidance to find out if it is suitable for your business.
The University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform can help you decarbonise your business and get low carbon products and services to market faster. It’s the South East Hub of the national low carbon innovation network, Clean Growth UK. Clean Growth UK connects businesses with universities, helping you access equipment, facilities and knowledge to develop, test, and refine new products. There’s also a programme of commercial support available, including funding, marketing and strategy support. If you’re innovating in your business to help us get to net zero, check them out.
LoCASE is a business programme that provides grants of up to £10,000 - that DON'T need to be paid back - to businesses in the South and East of England. The programme helps businesses reduce their environmental impact and, if they’re already a committed green business, to grow and scale up. It's for SMEs (businesses with fewer than 250 employees and less than £25.9m turnover). There are two types of grant: If you're already focused on being a green business you can apply for a grant to help grow your business. It can cover a wide range of business development expenses, including marketing, equipment, and much more. And any type of business can apply for a grant to reduce environmental impact, such as LED lighting, insulation, used EVs, or renewable energy projects.
I-Construct is a free ERDF-funded business support programme for SMEs in or supplying to the construction and built environment sector. It's aim is to help SMEs access new business opportunities, improve profitability, increase their expertise, and achieve sustainable growth through innovation.
It offers free 1:1 business mentoring and advice (worth £1,200), and grant funding of £1,000 to £20,000 to part-fund the development and launch of a new product or service. The funding can be used for a wide range of costs from software to hardware, from consultancy to the creation of a new role to manage the project.
If your business is eligible you can join the network for free. This also gives you access to our member’s portal where you can sign-up for members-only webinars and benefit from business opportunities.
To contact them or find out more visit www.i-construct.org.uk
TALE (Transport and Logistical Efficiencies) is ERDF-funded programme offering free support and funding contributions to SMEs moving products from A to B.
We can offer you up to 9-hours of mentoring (worth up to £1,200) to strengthen your business. Alternatively, our grants fund projects that use data analytics as part of a logistics function. They are worth from £1,000 to £10,000 depending on your project. Grant applications will be closing on 30th April 2022.
If you’re interested it’s easy to apply – contact us and if your company is eligible for support we’ll assign you a Business Support Facilitator who will help you complete your application.
To contact us or find out more visit www.tale.org.uk
Starting a Business
We'll introduce you to the Let’s Do Business Group's start-up loans team - the official delivery partner for the Government Start-Up Loans scheme in East Sussex.
A start-up loan is a government-backed scheme, which offers a repayable loan to individuals over the age of 18 who have a viable business idea but no access to finance.
Let’s Do Business Start-Up was set up to provide advice, mentoring and access to funding for new entrepreneurs and businesses in the start-up phase, that have been trading for less than 36 months. The scheme funds in every sector. As well as financial backing, all loan recipients are given access to a mentor, free training events and exclusive business offers.
If you decide to apply for a start-up loan, Locate East Sussex can help your journey and support you to develop a viable business plan.
The Back Her Business initiative has been designed to help more female entrepreneurs launch their own business. The UK-wide campaign is part of NatWest’s pledge to inspire 400,000 female-led business by 2025.
The bank is providing a top-up fund of £1 million per annum and will be offering grants to qualifying businesses. Applicants are required to set up a crowdfunding project with a minimum target of £1,000. Successful applicants will receive match funding of up to 50% towards their target, up to a maximum of £5,000.
This programme is open to UK-based, female-led start-up businesses and those with new trading activity.
Applications may be submitted at any time.
Funding for Innovation
Innovators can now search for funding oportunities across all of UKRI with its new consolidated funding finder.
Provides support and funding to help businesses develop new products and services and bring them closer to market, this may be to bring people together to share ideas, tackle challenges and make new technological advances. Funded by the government, Innovate UK targets technologies and areas with the greatest scope to improve business, the economy and society.
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) help companies to innovate and grow by linking them directly to an academic or research organisation and a graduate who is suited to the company's aims.
KTPs unlock new skills and the latest innovations to deliver specific and strategic innovation projects. The scheme can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on the project and the needs of the business.
Taking part in a KTP can help you to develop your business by providing access to the kind of academic expertise that you don’t have in-house. It's not expensive either - you will need to contribute to the salary of the associate who will work with you plus the cost of the scheme supervisor – the rest is funded by a grant.
KTPs are a proven way to improve business performance by helping companies become more innovative and productive in order to drive their competitive performance.
Connecting SMEs to academic expertise and graduate talent, this European Regional Development Fund-subsidised programme can help boost your business through research and development support and grant funding. KEEP+ will help you launch new products and services, improve profitability, reduce costs and access to graduate talent.