Grants up for grabs for Chichester businesses

Tim Hoare of Adsdean Farm
Tim Hoare of Adsdean Farm

SMALL business in the Chichester district are invited to apply for a slice of a £40,000 grant to develop their websites.

Chichester District Council piloted the original scheme in 2002, which allows businesses to apply for up to £1,000.

It ran until 2009 and helped companies to create jobs, increase business growth and bookings on websites.

Among the 300 businesses who benefitted under the original scheme was Adsdean Farm at Funtington. The £1,000 grant helped the farm to diversify and launch its website.

The business is thriving and its holiday let is accommodating guests from all over the world who book through the website.

Tim Hoare of Adsdean Farm, said: “Like most farmers we are always keen to look at new ways to secure our future. When the opportunity came up to get an enabling grant we jumped at it. Websites were still a relatively new idea then and we wanted to launch a website to promote the farm shop and secure booking for our holiday cottage.

“Since then we haven’t looked back. The holiday let side of our business is thriving and we now get bookings from visitors from all over the world.”

Councillor Myles Cullen, cabinet member for economy, property and tourism, said: “We’re delighted that we can announce the return of this popular grant.

“Web development has moved extremely fast in recent years, and the way customers use the internet has developed significantly. People expect websites to work effectively on mobile platforms such as smart phones and tablets and they also expect to be able to book or buy online.

“We hope a wide range of new and existing small businesses will apply to access this money to develop or enhance their websites, which has become an essential part of business.”

The £40,000 is funded from West Sussex County Council’s KickStart programme and the grant scheme is being delivered by Chichester District Council.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “Improving the economy of West Sussex is a major priority for the county council and small and medium businesses play a hugely important role in creating jobs and growth. Being able to trade effectively online is so important these days so I am really glad to see the return of this grant fund.”

Businesses must be based in the Chichester district to qualify for an Enabling Grant and employ up to ten paid staff or full time equivalent.

Businesses must apply by February 20, by contacting the council’s business support team on 01243 534669.