LEAP Entrepreneur Programme

The LEAP Entrepreneur Programme is a free business start-up programme. You will receive expert advice and have the chance to win a cash prize of £2,500 to help start your business.

Applications for 2019 are now open.

Click here to apply

Councillor Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council, talks about why the LEAP programme has helped so many budding entrepreneurs.

By joining the LEAP programme, eligible entrepreneurs will:

Attend a start-up workshop


Attend an interactive start-up workshop in Lewes or Newhaven.

Attend seminars


After shortlisting, 15 move onto stage two and attend a series of seminars focusing on areas where enterprises tend to fail in their first year. Those on the programme also receive mentoring from a team of dedicated business experts to help those entrepreneurs create viable, strong and robust business plans.

Go before a judging panel


Five business plans will be judged by a panel and the best business idea will be announced at the Lewes District Business Awards. The winner will be receive the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award and a cash prize of £2,500 to help them set up a business. A runner up will receive £500.

The amazing group of LEAP entrepreneurs from 2017

Judging panel and experts

Cllr Andy Smith

Leader of Lewes District Council


Councillor Andy Smith is the Leader of Lewes District Council. He provides strategic direction, working with Cabinet and Members from across the Council to deliver the Council’s key priorities. Alongside his Leadership role, he also has responsibility for ensuring the Council delivers their regeneration ambitions for the District.

Christina Ewbank

Chief Executive EDEAL Enterprise Agency


During 23 years with Mercedes-Benz and smart UK, Christina Ewbank has run dealerships in Chichester, Eastbourne and Brighton and was also Regional Manager for Lexus Northern Europe based in Brussels. She has brought her expertise running multi-million pound businesses to Edeal Enterprise Agency providing business support for start-ups and existing businesses and runs the Town Centre Management Team, including the Eastbourne Borough Market and town centre promotions in Eastbourne.

Ian Woodward

Natwest Relationship Manager


Ian Woodward has been a Bank Manager for NatWest in Eastbourne for 15 years. He manages accounts for a wide range of businesses, specialising in finance to purchase freehold business premises. Outside of Banking Ian is a keen swimmer, and competes regularly for Eastbourne and Sussex Masters teams, as well as teaching swimming for Eastbourne Swimming Club. Ian also arranges occasional Charity events, the most recent being a Sausage Tasting Competition at the Matthew 25 Mission, where they provide meals for vulnerable people 5 days a week. As you can see he likes to get stuck in.

Find out from local businesses how LEAP has helped them

To be eligible to receive this support you must be 18 years old and over and live or run a business in the Lewes District.

Ready to get started?

The programme is run once a year.

You can register for the 2019 LEAP Programme NOW

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