About 1,200 small businesses have been developed in Blaenau Gwent since 2011, as the local authority tries to tackle high levels of unemployment.
They have been set up or helped after it became the first Welsh council to adopt the American Sirolli model.
This sees support given to people to turn passion into businesses in the absence of major outside investors.
While the area has the highest unemployment levels in Wales, they fell from 14.1% in 2012 to 8.1% in 2016.
Wes Fisher, of Flame Protect UK, said his company had been helped and he hoped to take on more staff.