Wealden District Council

Access to Finance for Businesses

We recognise that when businesses are seeking funding, making an informed choice is vital. There are a range of grants and funding streams available that can assist with the financial implications of starting up a business, growing a business idea, financial help for existing businesses and funding for research and development work.

East Sussex County Council Business Grants and Loans

East Sussex Invest 5 (ESI 5) - Business Growth Funding

East Sussex Invest 5 (ESI 5) is a £1.3m annual fund focusing on business growth and job creation through grants and loans to businesses for capital investment.  The fund is divided into £300k grants and £1m loans delivered in partnership with Locate East Sussex.

There is an additional apprenticeship grant of £1.5k for a new, accredited apprentice position which can be claimed after the position has been filled for 6 months.  This is a one off payment with no match or evidence of spend required.  One per business allowed.

For more information please visit East Sussex County Council Business Grants And Loans (external link)

Locate East Sussex Grants and Loans

Locate East Sussex can help businesses seeking to launch or expand their current base or relocate to or within the county and will provide impartial advice on issues including business location, available sources of funding and how best to access a trained and skilled work force. 

For further information on business funding please visit Locate East Sussex (external link) or email:  enquiries@locateeastsussex.org.uk

South East Business Boost Fund (SEBB)

Could your business be eligible for a grant?

If you have a small to medium size business or are a start up based in East Sussex, Business East Sussex (BES) could help you fund a wide range of capital items to help increase sales, improve productivity and boost profitability.

In order to be eligible a business must:

  •  Be a small to medium size business with under 250 staff and a turnover under £50m
  •  Be spending on a project or purchase that has a long term growth impact on the business, not day to day running costs 
  •  With help from BES, have secured a grant offer letter from SEBB before starting the project

Further details can be found on the flyer South East Business Boost Fund (pdf) or by visiting the website Business East Sussex (external link) or by email:  info@businesseastsussex.org.uk 

Start Up Loans (external link)

The Start-Up Loans Company is a Government funded initiative that provides start up support in the form of a repayable loan together with a business mentor for entrepreneurs across England and Northern Ireland.

The Start-Up Loans programme was created within The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It was designed to go some way to help solve the problem of supporting people who have a feasible business idea but no access to finance. With a view to providing a robust SME sector, it aims to equip enterprising individuals with the tools needed to make their businesses a success. The Start-Up Loans Company operates through a network of delivery partners across the country, who support entrepreneurs in all industries and sectors.  Let's Do Business Group is a delivery partner providing advice and support to Wealden businesses.  For more information also visit:  Lets Do Business Group (external link)

Wealden & Eastbourne Small Business Loan (WELF£)

If you are a micro business based in the Eastbourne and Wealden area, with 10 or less employees and are ready to grow but unable to access the commercial finance you need to achieve growth, this scheme will help you to access the capital you need to take your business to the next stage:

  • A business loan over an agreed term up to a maximum of 60 months with monthly repayments of capital and interest
  • Companies must be successful, profitable and growing businesses that have been trading 12 or more months
  • The business must be based in the Wealden and Eastbourne areas
  • Loans of between £5000 and £15,000 are available
  • Interest rates are 12% - 14% per annum - please contact  Lets Do Business Group (external link) for an APR % quote
  • There is an arrangement fee of 4% (a minimum of £200) payable when the loan is drawn down
  • The loan terms range from 6 to 60 months (5 years)

For further details please visit Wealden Eastbourne Small Business Loan (external link)

Wealden and Rother Rural Partnership (WARR Partnership) LEADER programme 2015-20

EU grants totalling £1.472 million are now available to businesses in the rural areas of Wealden and Rother through the WARR Partnership. This latest LEADER support programme, announced by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, will provide grants to small businesses, farmers, foresters and communities for projects that create jobs and grow the rural economy. It reactivates the Wealden and Rother Rural Partnership, which through the previous four year LEADER Programme, supported 80 rural projects, created or protected over 90 full time equivalent jobs and led to just over £4 million being invested in small businesses and communities (including matched private sector funding). The Wealden and Rother Rural Partnership is made up of local people and organisations with a knowledge of rural issues and their communities. It acts as the Local Action Group for the programme. Through a competitive process, the Partnership determines which projects will be funded. Plumpton College is managing the delivery of the WARR Partnership LEADER programme, supported by Rother and Wealden District Councils and East Sussex County Council.

Funding under LEADER is available to rural businesses, farmers, foresters, growers, land owners, environmental organisations, cultural, heritage and community providers, as well as voluntary and charitable organisations. The Partnership will be encouraging projects that will assist, strengthen and develop the local economy and deliver jobs, growth and community benefits in rural East Sussex.

The LEADER scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England which is managed by the Rural Payments Agency and funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.  For further details visit:   The Warr Partnership (external link) or email:  Don Cranfield, Programme Manager don.cranfield@plumptonac.uk  or telephone 01273 892031.

Funding News

Keep up-to-date with funding opportunities via the monthly funding bulletin (external link) from East Sussex County Council.

More Business Finance Advice

A number of business agencies and organisations can provide further business finance information; some are listed below:

Let's Do Business (external link) 

  • For start-up loans, business growth loans, business grants, financial advice, and financial FAQs.

eDEAL Enterprise Agency (external link)

  • A not-for-profit enterprise agency providing confidential and impartial business advice.

The Prince's Trust (external link)

If you are between 18 and 30 years of age with a business start-up idea, you could benefit from support via The Prince's Trust Enterprise Programme which can provide support to apply for a low interest loan of up to £4,000 for a sole trader and up to £5,000 for a partnership to help start a business.  Please note business start-up funds are dependent upon funding available within the region.

Contact the Community and Regeneration Team