July 13, 2012
StartUp Britain has launched a scheme to help small firms take advantage of empty high street shops in a move to boost enterprise and retail growth.
With the support of business secretary Vince Cable, StartUp High Street offers an opportunity for fledgling retailers to open up their own shops. The scheme will kick off at the end of July with the opening of a pilot store in Richmond called PopUp Britain where six start-up businesses will get retail space.
StartUp High Street is seeking the support of local authorities to offer incentives to the landlords of empty shops to open them up to local StartUp High Street initiatives.
The StartUp High Street project is being supported by J C Decaux, John Lewis and Burson-Marsteller. Sponsors of StartUp Britain are also lending their support— each business will have use of a laptop from Dell, they will get PayPal’s internet payments system and they will receive Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting software. The shop will be kitted out courtesy of John Lewis and insured via another StartUp Britain sponsor AXA.
The initiative is part of the campaign’s blueprint for start-up support. It also includes PitchUp, a scheme enabling start-ups 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 campaign, said: “We’re seeing record numbers of people setting up businesses, and this new wave of entrepreneurs is starting out small and online. By giving start-ups access to empty shops across Britain, we hope that as StartUp High Street evolves, it will help provide a much-needed adrenalin shot to the local British shopping experience.”
Business secretary Vince Cable said: “The scheme will be a welcome addition to our high streets, opening up shops, displaying enterprising spirit and showcasing the vital support on offer to help new businesses to succeed.”
The StartUp Britain campaign is backed by Government but operates as a private sector supported venture. It was founded by eight individuals and business owners and is sponsored by AXA, Dell, Intel, Intuit, PayPal and Magento.