The initiative, StartUp High Street, has won the support of Business Secretary Vince Cable, and Housing Minister Grant Shapps and comes days after the Government announced that it intends to cut red tape to allow more empty shops to be turned into pop-ups.
The unprecedented scheme has the added benefit of helping to rejuvenate the complexion of the UK’s flagging high street by making use of empty shops, while providing start-ups with an opportunity to co-fund the cost of opening up an empty shop.
Part of the national campaign’s blueprint for start-up support includes PitchUp, a scheme which will see start-ups given the opportunity to pitch their products to high street retailer John Lewis, with a view to getting their merchandise onto the British department store’s shelves.
Emma Jones, co-founder of the national start-up campaign, said: “StartUp 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 said: “The best local high streets offer more than simply shopping – they are the beating heart of their neighbourhoods: places to meet, work, relax and come together in open-air community centres. 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 StartUp 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.”
Lord Young, the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Adviser said: “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. Most start-ups exist online already, selling their products via the web. This opportunity will allow them a low-cost avenue to a whole new market, with the new experiences that will bring. This initiative by StartUp Britain should be applauded.”
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 StartUp 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.”
StartUp Britain are looking for more businesses who would like to be part of the shop for two weeks. If you are interested in being part of our PopUp Britain shop, please click here.