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Business support programmes and organisations

Getting in touch with other members of the local business community can help you grow and develop your business. Whether you meet people from other business sectors, or within your own industry, networking can provide advice, support and useful contacts. Your local borough or district council may also provide advice and support.

Business support programmes

Ready To Grow and Big Ambitions business support programmes

Two new business support programmes will be running from February 2024 to March 2025, available to businesses based in the boroughs and districts of Eastbourne, Lewes, Rother and Wealden.

  • Ready To Grow is a training programme for early stage business owners, trading for less than three years. This will include in-person and online workshops, masterclasses, one-to-one support and networking opportunities.
  • Big Ambitions provides up to 18 hours of expertise for businesses who are growing, and likely to employ additional staff within the next 6-12 months. This will include one-to-one diagnostic action planning and specialist support.

To learn more and to sign up, visit the East Sussex Business Hub.

The programmes are funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and a collaboration between Eastbourne, Lewes, Rother and Wealden District/Borough Councils. It is supported by East Sussex County Council and delivered by Digital Islands.

Business support and mentoring organisations

Business East Sussex

Business East Sussex is a free service to East Sussex businesses funded by East Sussex County Council, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

It provides unbiased navigation to the most relevant bodies, companies and organisations for business support needs.

Business East Sussex website
Telephone: 01273 335878

Business and Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC) Sussex

We offer a wealth of FREE online business resources that can help you to start your own business, build professional skills, connect with others, and grow.

The Business and Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC) Sussex is part of the British Library’s National Network of BIPCs across the UK.

BIPC Locals at Eastbourne Library and Hastings Library support entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises in Sussex, from that first spark of inspiration to successfully launching and developing a business.

As well as being a hub for entrepreneurs to network and attend events, Eastbourne Library and Hastings Library will provides 121 expert advice and access to a wealth of free online information - business databases, market research reports, company data and information on intellectual property. Whether you are just starting out or are ready to take the next step in your journey, we are here to help.

BIPC Sussex website (East Sussex Libraries)
Email: library.enquiries@eastsussex.gov.uk
Telephone: 07749 714546
BIPC Sussex Events (Eventbrite)

Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP)

An ERDF funded programme supporting SME Manufacturers. The MGP provides free advice and support to manufacturing SMEs to help:

  • identify opportunities and create plans for growth and improvement
  • work with the best external experts to implement those plans
  • cover up to 35% of the cost of implementing the plans through a growth or improvement grant
  • connect to wider support to maximise opportunities for growth.

Manufacturing Growth Programme website
Email: Keith Mabbutt
Telephone: 07773 228147

Wired Sussex

Mentoring schemes for digital, media and technology companies.

Wired Sussex website

Resources for businesses

The government’s online resource for businesses contains essential information and tools for starting and growing a business.

Chambers of commerce

Linking together all the Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors in East Sussex.

Enterprise organisations

Businesses, local government and other key organisations from East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock are part a Local Enterprise Partnership working to help business to grow and to create new jobs.

Learn more about SELEP activities in East Sussex.

Not-for-profit enterprise agency providing confidential and impartial business advice.

Lobbying and benefits group for small firms and self-employed people.

Business support across the south east of England.

Sector networking

The 1066 Country marketing partnership is committed to helping tourism businesses through joint marketing campaigns, website content, working with the travel trade and networking events.

Informal networking events for businesses in Lewes, taking place on the first Friday of every month.

Borough and district councils

Contracts and procurement

How to tender for contracts with East Sussex County Council.

The portal is a collaboration between public sector authorities in the South East region to provide a simple, secure and efficient way for managing sourcing and quotation activities, reducing time and cost for buyers and suppliers.

Free access to business opportunities, with procurement notices from across Europe.

Export forums

Detailed information on importing and exporting goods to and from the UK.

Government organisation that supports companies in the UK doing business internationally and overseas enterprises seeking to set up or expand in the UK.