Three companies supported by 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 evening (October 13) attracting business people across the county for a glittering evening hosted by Radio 4 presenter Timandra Harkness including a three course meal and live music.
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.
Accepting the award, the duo thanked Locate East Sussex for helping them secure a £10,000 grant towards setting up and they were also lent money by Let’s Do Business Group for start-up costs when high street banks turned them away.
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.
Surrey NanoSystems, which won The Innovation Award, also 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 since invented Vantablack, the darkest substance known to man and is in great demand locally.
Overall Business of the Year was named The Source, 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.
The Source hosted the Battle of Hastings this year, the most acclaimed BMX event in the world, and the company’s exports have grown 800% since 2013 and its TripAdvisor scores are 5*.
Philip Johnson, Director of Locate East Sussex, said: “It is fantastic to see businesses that we have helped, either through access to funding or relocation advice, becoming so success. These awards are very well deserved and a testament to the determination and vision of all the business owners.”