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Business Support

Local and national Business Support can provide you with the advice, guidance or help that your business needs to grow and thrive. Below is a list of local and national programmes and services that can support your business. All support on this page is free for businesses to access.

Local Support

Business East Sussex

Business East Sussex provides free and impartial government funded business support across the county of East Sussex. There is a wealth of support and finance options available to help your business, and the specialist team at Business East Sussex can help you identify your business needs and find relevant programmes or funding schemes.

During the current Covid-19 period the team at Business East Sussex can help businesses navigate through the range of emergency measures announced by Government, and help you find what you may be eligible for. The team can also help with supporting businesses to remain resilient through these challenging times, and by providing support on many areas including cash-flow planning, advice on how to find finance, support with diversifying your business, and accessing support to grow.

Call Business East Sussex now on 01273 335878 to speak to an adviser, or email at to book an appointment. For information on local national business support, on upcoming events and webinars, and on the Business East Sussex service, please visit the Business East Sussex website.

Business East Sussex is run by East Sussex County Council with funding from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and the County Council.

Low Carbon Across South East (LOCASE)

The Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) programme aim is to help businesses become more competitive and profitable while protecting the environment and encouraging low carbon solutions.

To do this, LoCASE provides grants for businesses of up to £20,000 as well as training workshops and fully funded events. Targeted business support is on offer for companies who offer “green” or low carbon goods and services. Further information can be found on the services page of our website.

LOCASE is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and is delivered in East Sussex by EAST Sussex County Council and the University of Brighton.

Locate East Sussex

Locate East Sussex is free to access inward investment, commercial property and business support service in East Sussex.

Locate East Sussex can support your businesses to move into East Sussex, relocate to different premises in East Sussex, access loan funding through the ESCC East Sussex Invest programme and provide advice on finance and business planning.

Locate East Sussex is commissioned by East Sussex County Council and funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the County Council, Eastbourne Borough Council, Hastings Borough Council, Lewes District Council, Rother District Council, and Wealden District Council.

South East Creatives, Cultural and Digital Support (SECCADS)

SECCADS aims to give a major boost to the creative economy in the South East by helping more than 350 creative companies and freelancers/sole-traders with business support or grants. SECCADS can support businesses with ONE of the following:

  • GRANTS: South East Creatives offers between £1k and £20k in grant funding. Our grants can cover up to 35% of project costs. The rest of the funding must come from private sources. The average-sized grants are between £1k and £3k. Grants over £8k need to have a strong business case and outcomes, such as job creation.
  • INTERNSHIPS: The Intern Support programme can work with you to find an intern who matches the needs of your business while providing an opportunity for a student or graduate. Funding will enable eligible employers to take on a paid intern for either 6 or 12 weeks.
  • DIGITAL & DATA EXPERTISE: We believe that unpacking the figures behind your website and social media use can help your business grow. Digital and Data expertise programme can help you to: Use data to understand your customer segmentation and develop marketing strategies, use data ethics and security (including gdpr policy), and use data to make the most of your social media channels.
  • WORKSHOPS & MENTORING: The Workshops + Mentoring Programme will give you workable strategies to support you to run a more resilient and successful business – especially during these trying times. Once you’ve applied and passed eligibility, you not only gain access to exclusive webinars and support, you can also access up to 3 hours of mentoring.

SECCADS is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered in East Sussex by South East Creatives and East Sussex County Council.

Transport and Logistical Efficiencies (TALE)

TALE supports SMEs in the Logistics sector to better understand and analyse their data to increase their efficiency. It also helps them to understand cyber security and the implications on their data. Specialist expertise is provided by the University of Essex and University of Kent.

  • Business Support: SMEs are able to book a 1 to 1 free data assessment to get a diagnostic support plan to identify opportunities on better data use opportunities. TALE also offers free workshops on topics in the field of data exploitation: for latest dates please visit our Events page.
  • Grants: Funding contributions (40% of the total value of your business case, non-repayable cash) can be spent to implement your company’s growth plans, for example starting a new service, buying software or employing a data specialist.

Businesses in East Sussex can call Fred Thomas on 07739971665 or email

TALE is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by the Haven Gateway Partnership.

National Support


The Department for International Trade (DIT) provides expert international trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies who want to grow their business overseas.

The DIT provides tailored support packages for companies who are:

  • First time exporters (FTEs)
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • Medium-sized businesses (MSBs)

It also provides other services, including digital and online support that can help all types of business.

Office of the Small Business Commissioner

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner is an independent public body set up by Government under the Enterprise Act 2016 to tackle late payment and unfavourable payment practices in the private sector. The late payment culture that exists between businesses in the UK means that a third of payments to small businesses are late, and 20% of small businesses have run in to cash flow problems due to late payments.

The Small Business Commissioners website has some excellent guidance on how small businesses can:

  • Deal with an unpaid invoice
  • Get your invoicing right
  • Check your Contracts

Research, Development & Innovation

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.

Innovate UK works to:

  • Determine which science and technology developments will drive future economic growth
  • Meet UK innovators with great ideas in the fields we’re focused on
  • Fund the strongest opportunities
  • Connect innovators with the right partners they need to succeed
  • Help our innovators launch, build and grow successful businesses

Since 2007, Innovate UK has invested over £1.5bn in innovation, matched by a further £1.5bn in partner and business funding. It has helped more than 5,000 innovative companies in projects estimated to add £7.5 billion to the UK economy and create 35,000 extra new jobs.

Business is Great Britain campaign

The GREAT Britain campaign showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer. We welcome the world to visit, study and do business with the UK.

The UK’s dynamic economy and business-friendly environment make it a great place to locate and expand your business.

Business liability insurance

Being an employer means a business must have employers’ liability insurance, with a minimum cover of £5m. Having Employers Liability Insurance will cover the business against claims of compensation in the event of injury or illness of employees.

Under the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, it is a requirement that the insurance is provided by an authorised insurer. This list can be found on

When do I need to be VAT registered?

Once your business reaches a VAT taxable turnover, you need to register for VAT. The threshold is the total of everything you sell that isn’t exempt from VAT reaching more than £82,000 in a rolling 12-month period.

If you’re unsure if you have reached the threshold in a 12-month period, total up the following items to check:

  • Goods hired or loaned to customers
  • Business goods used for personal reasons
  • Goods that you have bartered, part-exchanged or given as gifts
  • Services received from other countries that you had to reverse charge
  • If you completed building works for the business yourself that exceeded £100,000

Following from the date of registration, you will need to ensure that your business charges the correct amount for VAT as well as submit VAT returns within the correct times and make payments accordingly.

Although you are not able to charge businesses VAT on your invoices until your VAT number is allocated, you will need to advise HMRC of VAT spend during this period.

Compliance and Regulation

Better Business for All (BBfA) is a collaboration between business and regulators to enable simpler and more consistent compliance with relevant regulation, ultimately leading to a safer and more profitable society.

Being More Productive

Be the Business is an independent, not-for-profit movement. We’re here to help every firm in the country improve their own performance, and the performance of those they work with.


Visit Britain – Business Advice Hub

Helping your tourism business to grow – with practical tips, legal obligations and local support

Patents and Trade Marks

Intellectual Property Office

What intellectual property is:

Having the right type of intellectual property protection helps you to stop people stealing or copying:

  • the names of your products or brands
  • your inventions
  • the design or look of your products
  • things you write, make or produce

Copyright, patents, designs and trade marks are all types of intellectual property protection. You get some types of protection automatically, others you have to apply for.

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By contacting us via our Callback Form or via email, you give us consent to use your data to reply to your query. We will not contact you for any other purpose nor share your personal data with any Third-Party organisations. To know more about how what data we keep and how we use it, please read our Privacy Policy.

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