Case Study: Economic Development

South East Business Boost

 

always possible delivered the South East Business Boost grants project across East Sussex, unlocking over £1m in growth and productivity investment.

Context

always possible was appointed to manage the South East Business Boost (SEBB) mentoring programme, focusing on fostering business growth, productivity and grant-funded investment in East Sussex from 2020 to 2022.

This programme supported businesses to think big, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. SEBB targeted a range of sectors including high-tech manufacturing, engineering, and expert craft and conservation – providing access to grants, expert consultation and diagnostic tools to enhance business resilience and planning.

Challenge

 

The SEBB grants programme was established to address several key challenges:

 

  • Engagement and outreach: Engaging a diverse range of businesses across East Sussex, including those in rural areas and start-ups with limited resources.
  • Complex grant processes: Simplifying the application and disbursement process for grants to ensure businesses could easily access and utilise funds.
  • Economic impact of COVID-19: Addressing the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small and medium-sized businesses, which affected their operational stability and growth potential.
  • Resource allocation: Ensuring that the grants and support provided were effectively targeted to generate maximum economic impact and support sustainable growth.

Intervention

 

  • Diagnostic tools and expert consultation: We provided businesses with expert consultation and a free diagnostic tool to assess capital project ideas, growth readiness and potential for skills development and job creation.
  • Grant allocation: Brokered a total of £761,649 in grants to 136 businesses, generating £1,369,585 in private match-funding.
  • Targeted support: Developed and disseminated marketing materials, online training sessions, and resources to clarify grant processes. This significantly reduced the participant journey time between recruitment and payment.
  • Collaborative network: Positioned within the wider business support network, linking businesses with finance and grant providers, and partnering with local advisors to support growth-related needs (such as securing premises).
  • Database of suppliers: Curated a comprehensive database of local capital equipment suppliers, enabling businesses to save costs and maximise the value of their grants.

Outcome

 

  • Enhanced business resilience: 273 businesses received diagnostic consultations, improving their understanding of growth plans and cost base. This support helped businesses to better navigate economic challenges.
  • Economic growth and job creation: The programme directly contributed to the creation of over 76 new jobs and the introduction of 61 new products or services to market.
  • Efficient grant use: The average grant value of £5,069 was used well, with businesses leveraging these funds to generate substantial private investment and enhance their operational capabilities.
  • Improved business operations: Businesses like Bell Tent Sussex, Crowfoot Salvage, TWC Café and Regenersoil benefitted from the grants by expanding their product offerings, improving operational efficiency, and increasing customer engagement and revenue.
  • Positive feedback: Employers and local authorities provided positive feedback on the programme, highlighting the valuable support and strategic guidance provided by always possible. The collaboration was praised for its creativity, responsiveness and high-quality delivery of support.
    Register interest, discuss with our eligibility team, start. Grant proposal - Ideas development with expert mentors, complete and submit your grant application. Grant awarded by 31st December 2022, make purchases and claim your grant.

    “We have done it! My application got approved. I am so surprised that South East Business Boost has come through for me. It has been a real pleasure working with you; your input has been invaluable.”

    Wag’N’Tails Dog Groomers

    “I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all your help in making this happen! It’s an enormous help to me, and I’m thrilled to be able to benefit as a business from the support. The equipment the grant enables me to acquire for Regenersoil is vital to its future growth.”

    Regenersoil 

    “Thank you for your email and for the advice. It was an excellent evaluation of AirNode business cases. The information and ‘to-do’ tasks were excellent. I am going over these to complete them. Thank you for your assistance. It is a large benefit.”

    AirNode

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