East Sussex Invest 8


East Sussex County Council Business Growth and Carbon Reduction Funding

*This fund is currently temporarily closed to new applications*

The East Sussex Invest 8 fund is an East Sussex County Council (ESCC) programme to support sustainable business growth in the local economy through capital investment via grants and loans.

The two main aims of the fund are to create local jobs and support businesses to become environmentally responsible. Both must be demonstrated in the application form and business plan.

There is a lot of support and advice available to help your business reduce its carbon footprint, including a calculator tool on the Clean Growth UK website so that you can find out what your starting point is: Net Zero 360 - Clean Growth UK

ESI 8 is delivered by East Sussex County Council in partnership with Locate East Sussex (LES).

Loans from £10k to £100k

Loans require minimum match funding of 50% and have an arrangement fee of £450 (up to £25k) or £650 (for loans over £25k) which is paid to the Let’s Do Business Group who administer the loan.

Note: Loans of £20k and over or to start-ups usually require a Directors Guarantee or Charge at a cost of £50 per person.

Grants from £10k to £25k

Grants are made usually in conjunction with a loan. 60% match funding required. 50% is paid on evidence of spend of the grant and match, and 50% of the grant is paid out after the new jobs have been filled for three months.

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.

NB: East Sussex County Council acting reasonably reserves the right to suspend or close this fund at any time.

Eligibility criteria

  • Micro, small and medium (SME) businesses (under 250 employees), and start-ups.
  • Charities and social enterprises are eligible if more than 50% of their turnover is from trading.
  • Capital expenditure items only are eligible. These include: building works to upgrade or extend the premises; fixtures and fittings; machinery; equipment; software (purchase and development); marketing drives; targeted consultancy; specialist training. Excludes property or land acquisition and all revenue.
  • Businesses must demonstrate how they plan to reduce their carbon footprint. This does not have to relate to the capital expenditure. An Environmental Responsibility Plan is an advantage.
  • Ratio of loan funds to jobs created is £16k per full-time employment (FTE) job created.
  • Ratio of grant funds to jobs created is £8k per FTE job created.
  • Jobs must be full or part-time permanent contracts. A full-time job must be a minimum of 30 hours per week. Two part-time jobs can count as one FTE job. Apprenticeship positions do not count as jobs created.
  • Education, healthcare and residential care services are excluded.
  • This fund will not support the displacement of jobs or businesses; therefore, local retail and service sector funding will normally be restricted to a maximum loan of £20,000.
  • In exceptional circumstances part of the loan can be converted to a grant at the discretion of East Sussex County Council.

Payment conditions

  • The loan payment can be drawn down either on evidence of spend to the value of the loan and evidence of match available, or in the cases of large building projects the signing of a construction contract and evidence of start on site. This is usually made in a single payment.
  • Maximum loan period: 5 years.
  • Interest rates of up to 5% decided on a case-by-case basis as recommended by the panel.
  • In some circumstances up to 6 months repayment and interest holiday may be offered.
  • Retrospective funding is not allowed (for funding or match).
  • The contracts include an immediate repayment clause in instances of contract deviation or where a beneficiary moves the business out of East Sussex or there is a transfer of control or ownership.

Funding process

  • To check eligibility for funding and to request an application form, email your contact details to Locate East Sussex. Email: enquiries@locateeastsussex.org.uk.
  • All applications for funding must be submitted by email to the East Sussex County Council Business Funding Team (copying in Locate East Sussex at the above address). Email: Economic Intervention Fund.
  • Permission for credit checks must be given and will be carried out during the appraisal. Incomplete or unsigned application forms will not be accepted for appraisal; this includes all required supporting documents and evidence.
  • Applications will be appraised by the East Sussex County Council Business Funding Team and considered by the East Sussex County Council Grants and Loans Panel virtually. There are currently no fixed Panel dates; applications will be appraised and go to a virtual Panel within 10 to 15 working days of receipt. This will be reviewed in late-2022 when quarterly meeting dates may be reintroduced.
  • Panel recommendations are sent to the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport for final decision. Successful applicants will receive an offer letter by email, the date of which is deemed to be the ‘Offer Date’ from which all qualifying spend is eligible.
  • Unsuccessful applicants will be notified and a rationale for rejection given. There is no appeals process, but applicants can re-apply if they address the reasons given for rejection. All qualifying County Council business funding applications are subject to Panel recommendations and Director-level approval.
  • Following acceptance of the offer, the Business Funding Team will draw up a funding contract for signing. From offer date to signed contract takes between 3 and 6 weeks, after which claims can be made.
  • A separate loan agreement will be drawn up between the Let’s Do Business Group and the beneficiary reflecting the terms in the contract.
  • Loan drawdown claims are made on a claim form sent to the Business Funding Team who will instruct the Let’s Do Business Group when the loan conditions have been met to authorise payment.
  • All loan payments will be made by and to the Let’s Do Business Group, who are East Sussex County Council’s loan management organisation for this fund.


An additional £1,500 grant can be claimed if a successful applicant takes on an accredited apprentice who remains in post for 6 months (requires evidence that the appointment was made after the offer date). This does not require match and is a one-off payment without restrictions.

This option is only open to businesses that receive funding from this fund and is limited to one apprentice per business.

If you have any questions, please contact enquiries@locateeastsussex.org.uk

Priorities and restrictions

Priority Sectors

  • Land-management; for example, developing specialist, high added-value food and drink production, including brewing and viticulture.
  • Digital and media; in particular digital-related innovation.
  • Advanced manufacturing.
  • Advanced materials and electronic systems.
  • Low-carbon and environmental goods and services.

Sectoral restrictions

State Aid rules restrict firms active in the following sectors:

  • Fisheries and aquaculture (maximum Euros 30,000 of support).
  • Primary production processing and marketing of agricultural products.
  • Coal and steel production, shipbuilding and synthetic fibres.
  • Road haulage sector, restrictions apply.

Local retail and other consumer services restricted to a maximum of £20k loan

These are:

  • Local consumer-type activities such as retail, personal services, leisure activities, restaurants and food and drink outlets, and professional services.

For further information contact the Economic Intervention Fund or email enquiries@Locateeastsussex.org.uk