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Start-ups offered occupancy of empty high street shops

Entrepreneurs given new route to market under StartUp High Street scheme

StartUp Britain has launched a new scheme offering hundreds of empty shops to start-up businesses.

StartUp High Street is hoped to rejuvenate the retail landscape, by filling empty retail outlets with innovative start-ups, who in turn will receive an unprecedented new platform to sell their products.

A pilot store, named PopUp Britain, will open in Richmond next week housing six start-up businesses, and has already won the praise of local officials. Constituency MP Zac Goldsmith described the move as an “innovative and clever way to provide opportunities for small businesses at a time when they need it most.”

The six fledgling retailers – British sock manufacturer Morrows Outfitters, socially-conscious accessory retailer Elephant Branded, online design company Bertie & Jack, handmade jeweller Maria Allen Jewellery, cycling accessory seller Vulpine and camping accessory retailer The Camouflage Company – will each pay £135 for a two-week shared occupancy of the empty store.

Start-ups will also be given the opportunity to pitch their products to buyers from John Lewis, and potentially get their merchandise stocked in the store, under a sister scheme named PitchUp.

StartUp Britain co-founder Emma Jones said: “We’re seeing record numbers of people setting up businesses, and this new wave of entrepreneurs are starting out small and online. This initiative offers them a chance to test out new markets, as well as get their products in front of big names like John Lewis.”

Lord Young, the prime minister’s enterprise adviser, added: “StartUp High Street is a great example of what can and needs to be done to support small businesses. They are the driving force of the economy and now, more than ever, we’ve got to do everything we can to help them find ways to grow.”

For more information or to apply for a space in a retail outlet through the scheme, visit the StartUp Britain website

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