Four companies supported by Let’s Do Business Group and Locate East Sussex scooped awards at this year’s Best of East Sussex Business Awards to celebrate the cream of the county’s businesses.
The Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex (ACES) event was held at the De La Warr Pavilion on Thursday, October 13, attracting business people across the county for a glittering evening hosted by Radio 4 presenter Timandra Harkness.
Winners of the Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year were Rory Myers and Matt Woodhouse who own Half Man! Half Burger! on St Leonards seafront.
Rory and Matt were lent £7,000 from the Let’s Do Business Group (LDBG) for start-up costs when high street banks turned them away and were also helped by Locate East Sussex to secure a £10,000 grant. LDBG also organised staff training to give them the necessary qualification to sell alcohol with a British Institute of Innkeeping Awarding Body Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders.
Since then the profit target for Half Man! Half Burger! has been exceeded by more than 400% and the owners are opening their second restaurant in Eastbourne without increasing their borrowings.
Meanwhile, Overall Business of the Year was named The Source following the new underground skate park on Hastings seafront which was created from the derelict White Rock Baths.
Locate East Sussex helped secure funding of £320,000 for The Source from the Regional Growth Fund, administered locally by East Sussex County Council, as well as a loan of £28,000.
Let’s Do Business Finance has been assisting The Source with growth plans since 2009, most recently with their new skate park.
The venue hosted the Battle of Hastings this year, the most acclaimed BMX event in the world, the company’s exports have grown 800% since 2013 and its TripAdvisor scores are 5*.
Online fashion company Boom Boom The Label also took home an award, for being Small Business of the Year.
Boom Boom numbers stars such as Kim Kardashian amongst its customers and its handmade dresses, with signature double layered fabric, are being exported across the world. The Lewes-based company has benefitted from three separate grants through Locate East Sussex, totalling £18,000.
Director Alie Mackintosh also approached LDBG to develop one of her employees, Hatty Paine, through its Business Skills Academy apprenticeships. She recently completed her Advanced Apprenticeship in Business Administration (Level 3). The business is also supported by one of the Group’s Business Coaches.
The Innovation Award was won by Surrey NanoSystems who paid tribute to Locate East Sussex for the business support service’s help in relocating from Surrey to Newhaven where the facilities are more cost effective and staff enjoy a better work-life balance. The team has developed Vantablack which is the darkest substance known to man and work with companies both locally and world-wide to develop applications for it.
Graham Marley, Chief Executive at LDBG, said: “It is brilliant to see businesses we help develop into great successes, having identified their potential when they approached us.
“Our belief in them, often in spite of the views of high street lenders, has proved well-founded and these awards are very well deserved by these visionary and hard-working entrepreneurs.”
For more information about how LDBG and Locate East Sussex can help your business visit www.letsdobusinessgroup.co.uk and www.locateeastsussex.org.uk. Follow on Twitter @LDBGroup @LocateESussex