First Pop Up Britain shop opens in Richmond
Start Up Britain has opened the first of its Pop Up Britain shops which offer start-up businesses a low-cost opportunity to experience life on the high street.
The Start Up High Street initiative, which has won the support of Business Secretary Vince Cable and Housing Minister Grant Shapps, comes days after the government announced plans to cut red tape to enable more empty shops to be turned into temporary pop-ups.
The scheme provides start-ups with an opportunity to co-fund the cost of opening up an empty shop. The first Pop Up Britain shop in Richmond in Surrey will be occupied by six start-up retailers for two weeks on a rolling basis. The current occupiers are Tier 1, Morrows Outfitters, Vulpine, Bertie & Jack, Elephantbranded and Maria Allen Jewellery.
The additional PitchUp scheme will also offer start-ups the chance to pitch their products to high street retailer John Lewis, with a view to getting their merchandise onto the department store’s shelves.
Emma Jones, co-founder of the national start-up campaign, said: "Start Up High Street gives small start-up businesses a fantastic opportunity to think big and become a part of their local high street. We’re seeing record numbers of people setting up businesses, and this new wave of entrepreneurs are starting out small and online, so to get them onto the high street is a great achievement."
Housing Minister Grant Shapps added: "The government is already breathing new life into the nation’s high streets through Portas Pilots and the High Street Innovation Fund and so it’s great to see innovative new initiatives like Start Up High Street bringing new people and new uses to empty shops.
"Projects like this support new businesses, provide local jobs boost local economies. I hope that its future success will be a model for other towns."
Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith has also given his blessing to the scheme, which begins in his own constituency. He said: "I am very pleased to support Start Up High Street. It is an innovative and clever way not only to provide opportunities for small businesses at a time when they need it most, but to revitalise our high streets by restoring and using empty spaces."
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