A SCHEME which helps businesses in East Sussex to launch or grow has handed out its 100th grant to local companies.

South East Business Boost was launched in April 2017 to offer grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 for investment to drive growth to start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses.

It has since helped to create 40 new jobs across the county.

The scheme, administered by East Sussex County Council using EU funding, has given out over £580,000 for new equipment, technology or systems or to expand premises, with businesses themselves investing a total of £1.5million.

The honour of receiving the 100th grant went to Lewes-based Star Pottery, whose founder, Mohamed Hamid, used the cash to purchase a bigger kiln in a bid to increase the number of students on his pottery courses, as well as his range of products.

Mr Hamid said: “Without the funding provided, the Star Pottery would have had to close its doors.

“The new kiln will keep the workshop open to the community for another 20 years.

“The whole process was easy, and the staff were extremely helpful with every step of the application process.”

Other companies to have benefitted from the scheme include ‘booze-infused smoked salmon’ purveyor The Pished Fish, in Berwick, which used the cash for a new specialist chilling van.

Also receiving grants are Lewes-based kitchen designer Inglis Hall.

Cllr Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council lead member for economy, said: “Small and medium-sized businesses are the engine of our economy in a largely rural county.”