Business and Economy

Business Promotion Grants awarded to local companies

Business Promotion Grant winners 2018

Posted on: 3 September 2018

Eleven Devon companies have been awarded funding from Devon County Council to help them promote their businesses to wider audiences.

The Business Promotion Grant, which is part of the County Council’s Devon Delivers programme, aims to help local companies to showcase their goods and services to potential new customers.

Grants of up to £1,500 were offered through a competitive bidding process and the successful companies use the funding to cover exhibiting costs at high profile trade shows and events – providing valuable exposure to help the development of their business and support Devon’s growing economy.

The enterprises receiving the Business Promotion Grant this year are:

Bird Sunglasses – based in Exeter, this family business creates award-winning, sustainable eyewear with a social purpose. Every pair sold brings the gift of solar light to families in Malawi, Zambia and Uganda through its Share Your Sun partnership with SolarAid.  The company will be attending 100% Optical in January 2019.

Ed Bird, Founder of Bird Sunglasses, said: “It’s a real privilege to be a part of this programme and have the support of Devon County Council who have played a key role in helping us develop a national brand. It’s an exciting time to be doing business in the South West!”

Davy J – based in Newton Abbot, the company designs and creates beautiful, active swimwear, all manufactured in the UK and made from regenerated fishing nets and other ocean waste. The company has been invited to showcase its products at the emerging brands section at London Fashion Week in September.

Helen Newcombe, Founder of Davy J, said: “It’s a really exciting opportunity for us to feature in the designer showrooms at the upcoming London Fashion week and a huge thank you to Devon County Council and the Business Promotion Grant for supporting us to attend. As a young brand, only a year old, this is a really exciting opportunity for us to elevate Davy J onto a global stage and showcase our pieces to a highly influential audience in the world of fashion.”

Extreme Cases – designs, manufactures and supplies robust cases, containers and backpacks for extreme environments. Its products are manufactured in the UK and used worldwide by the military. The Barnstaple based company will show its products at the International Disaster Response EXPO at London Olympia in November.

Mark Brown, Managing Director of Extreme Cases, said: “The Business Promotion Grant is a fantastic opportunity for Extreme Cases to launch an exciting new watertight backpack, RHIP, we’ve been developing here in Devon into a new market. RHIP is a major part of our growth strategy and the support will play a part in realising the opportunity.”

Fravocado – this groundbreaking brand, based in Dawlish, is the first in the UK to commercially produce avocado ice-cream. It is vegan and allergen free as it doesn’t contain eggs, nuts, dairy or soya. Fravocado will attend the Speciality Fine Foods Show at London Olympia in September.

Becky Osborne, Managing Director of Fravocado, said: “Being awarded this grant is a great achievement for Fravocado. It will allow us to showcase our product to both national and international buyers, giving us valuable exposure which wasn’t otherwise possible. In addition, it’s very rewarding to be recognised and supported by Devon County Council.”

Koto Design – New startup Koto brings Scandinavian design to the prefabricated housing and cabin market. Based in Westward Ho!, Koto will be exhibiting at the Holiday Park Show at Birmingham NEC in November to launch its cabins and homes to a wider, targeted audience.

Johnathon Little, Founder of Koto Design, said: “We create beautiful small buildings that allow people to connect with nature and embrace outdoor living.”

Krowdthink – is a digital technology innovator based near Newton Abbot. Krowdthink is developing a new location based engagement app that connects crowds of people together and last year it won a highly competitive bid to the Home Office and Office of Counter-Terrorism last year to innovate safety in crowded locations. The company will attend the Event Safety and Security Summit in London in October.

Geoff Revill, Managing Director of Krowdthink Ltd, said: “We are very grateful to Devon County Council for providing us with this grant – it will allow us to take a prominent stand at the Event Safety & Security Summit and engage with over 400 of the UK’s leading event and venue security organisations. It is critical for our growth that we engage with this community to demonstrate how digital can enhance crowd safety and facilitate improved, cost reduced, security operations.”

One & Eight – the jewellery company designs its collections at its Totnes studio and will attend the Top Drawer Spring Fair at London Olympia in January.

Susie Dorman, Owner of One & Eight, said: “We are really grateful to Devon County Council for offering One & Eight a Business Promotion Grant which will enable us to attend Spring ’19 Top Drawer Trade Show. This is an amazing opportunity as large trade fairs such as this are the sales platform we need to grow our business. Buyers from around the globe attend this show which is hugely important for sales growth and relationship development.”

Sharp & Tappin, based in Holsworthy, will be showcasing its Compcut range of Advanced Composite Plate Saws at this year’s SAMPE Conference in Southampton in September.

Ben Sharp, CEO of Sharp & Tappin, said: “We are confident that the SAMPE conference will significantly help us to raise our profile and increase our client base within the UK, whilst at the same time helping us to develop and open new channels into Europe, including strengthening ties with leading UK and European universities, which is another target market for our precision equipment.”

The Dog Treat Company – artisan producers of all natural, handmade dog treats. The Newton Abbot company uses human grade, ethically sourced ingredients for its treats made by hand in Devon. It will show at Pets Telford in September.

Joe Halliwell, Co-Founder of The Dog Treat Company, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be supported in this way by Devon County Council. All too often small businesses who are invariably cash-strapped miss out on vital opportunities to showcase their products on a national and international stage – the Business Promotion Grant affords us a great opportunity to continue our growth both nationally and internationally.”

The Sign Maker – produces high quality signs and memorials, using a range of materials, from its workshop in Umberleigh. It will show at the Family Attraction Expo at Birmingham NEC in November.

Kate Price, Managing Director of The Sign Maker, said: “We have a huge range of signs but up to now, we have only sold via the internet. The grant gave us the incentive to attend the Family Attraction Expo at the NEC in November, and it has enabled us to have a stand at the event. We will be able to showcase our products to businesses which are constantly in need of new signage, and it will also help us to meet and form relationships with the business owners. If this exhibition works for us, and I am positive it will, we will no doubt be doing more shows.”

Zippy & George – produces handmade decorative art for gift shops, farm shops, garden centres, vintage stores and visitor attractions. It also produces tailored designs, using classic styles and modern themes. The company, based in Colyton, will attend the Spring Fair at Birmingham NEC in February.

Jon Gleeson, Founder of Zippy & George, said: “Attending the show is an important step in our growth – we are developing relationships with customers across the UK and our stand at The Spring Fair will place our products in front of thousands of buyers, both nationally and from overseas. This is one element of a plan which will enable us to offer employment in this rural part of Devon.”

Cllr Rufus Gilbert

Cllr Rufus Gilbert

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “This year’s Business Promotion Grant has again proven extremely popular and the 11 companies selected to receive funding are all high calibre local companies. The shows they are attending will open up the possibility of reaching national and international audiences. We’re proud that the County Council can play a part in helping local firms gain valuable exposure.”

The Devon Delivers programme aims to highlight Devon as a great place to live and work. For more information go to and

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