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Local businesses see the benefit of County Council grant fund
18th August 2014

West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith has paid a visit to recent recipients of ‘Be the Business’ grants, following the announcement that the fund is once again open for applications.

Louise Goldsmith, who holds the Economy portfolio, visited a number of businesses who were awarded grants in 2013, to see how the County Council’s support had made a difference.

‘Be the Business’ helps those with a great business idea start up a new enterprise in West Sussex, and offers established companies an opportunity to grow their business and help create new jobs. In 2013-14 a total of £632,855 was awarded to 37 businesses across the county.

Accompanied by Michael Brown, Cabinet Member for Finance, Louise went to Tuppenny Barn in Southbourne to find out how a £25,000 grant has allowed them to develop their education venture by building a sustainable education centre.

Maggie Haynes from Tuppenny Barn said: “The grant has enabled us to move into the final stages of completing our sustainable education centre. The funding offers the local community a facility that is a beacon of sustainability, promoting all aspects of health and wellbeing. It will also run courses and workshops, host school and community group visits and be available for local hire.

“The visit from Louise and Michael was a real boost, and gave us the opportunity to discuss how the centre and outdoor classroom might be used by schools and colleges. It could help them to fulfil their remit in providing cookery classes for both teachers and pupils, using organic produce from the smallholding.”

Another visit was to Sparks Yard General Stores in Arundel, which received £30,000 to expand the business onto a third floor. The existing coffee bar has been relocated to the new space and is now a restaurant serving food throughout the day. The expansion has created new jobs in the kitchen, and the company is working with local colleges to appoint an apprentice.

Also in receipt of a grant was EJ Bespoke Furniture, which has now successfully relocated from East Sussex to West Sussex, taken on a new member of staff and an apprentice from Chichester College, thanks to ‘Be the Business’.   Following the visits Louise Goldsmith said: “These are shining examples of how the County Council’s ‘Be the Business’ grants can offer financial support to help local companies develop, safeguard jobs and create new employment and training opportunities in West Sussex. I sincerely hope that there will also be a real opportunity for more apprenticeships as these businesses grow and develop.   “But the grants have further reaching consequences; they are enabling businesses to employ the services of other local suppliers and organisations. This is giving a welcome boost to the local economy and keeping more valuable pounds within our county.

“’Be the Business’ is once again open for applications, which is a demonstration of the commitment West Sussex County Council has to nurturing a thriving and vibrant local economy. I urge local businesses to get in touch and find out how ‘Be the Business’ could help them.”

The closing date for applications to the 2014 fund is 5.00pm on Monday 15 September. A total of £600,000 is available.   More information, including the grant guidelines and application form, is available at the Be the Business website.Alternatively, email info@bethebusiness.org.

WSCC is working with Sussex Enterprise and Branduin Support Ltd to deliver the ‘Be the Business’ programme.

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